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After years of dealing with mysterious health issues, former Below Deck deckhand Rhylee Gerber thinks she may know what’s been causing some pretty uncomfortable gastrointestinal problems and lethargy – and it could come down to her 12-year-old breast implants.

“I’m very hopeful that it’s related to the implants because for the last couple of years, I have felt way more lethargic, way more inflamed,” Gerber told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “I’m bloated all the time. I could eat like spinach and kale or go on a healthy kick and do a detox. Or I could eat cheeseburgers and s*** food. But literally, no matter what, I’m very, very bloated all the time, which could be caused by inflammation throughout my whole body. Which I think is stemmed from the implants, which are now approaching 12 years old. So they’re already past due for being upgraded or removed.”

Rhylee Gerber from ‘Below Deck’ says ‘arsenic’ is in her breast implants

Gerber, who was seen working extremely hard on Below Deck for two seasons, said she was privately trying to push through an overall feeling of malaise. “It was two years ago that I really started feeling this way,” she recalled.

Rhylee Gerber from 'Below Deck' sits on the steps of a yacht with arm over her leg
Rhylee Gerber | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

A friend recently shared that she too was experiencing health problems. “She was going through the same symptoms, only way worse,” Gerber said about her friend, who also has breast implants. “She suffered from Bell’s palsy because of this. Like there is a list of these incredible poisonous toxins that are in these FDA-approved implants. It literally says arsenic in these specific implants that I have in my body. And I can only imagine that’s a leading cause as to some of these symptoms that I’m feeling.”

FDA recognizes that breast implants may cause illness

Gerber may be suffering from “breast implant illness,” which the FDA identified as “a variety of systemic symptoms which may be reported by some women following reconstruction or augmentation with breast implants.” Several of Gerber’s reported symptoms, especially fatigue and inflammation, could be caused by her aging implants.

Gerber dealt with another common symptom, “anxiety,” which was something she never had until recently. She initially thought she was dealing with the myriad of problems everyone is facing – coronavirus (Covid-19), rising prices, and societal unrest. But, “I had all this anxiety, which I also never had anxiety before,” she said. “Like I just did me.”

“And so the more and more I saw and kept researching what my friend Kim was saying, the more and more I saw testimonials of every woman that had their implants removed, literally said nine out of 10 of thousands of women’s testimonials said they felt immediately better from symptoms like fatigue and inflammation and indigestion,” she said. “Do I think I’m the perfect bill of health minus implants? No. But do I think that they’re very strongly correlated to implants? 100%. If there’s arsenic in it, then that’s in my body and that’s no good.”

Rhylee Gerber is scheduled to have her breast implants removed

Gerber recently took the first step to have her implants removed. She met with Dr. David Rankin a leading breast explant surgeon for a consultation. Her explant surgery is scheduled for later in August. She plans to document her journey on her Instagram and is hopeful the surgery will bring relief.


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Gerber is curious to see what her implants look like once they are removed. “You can look at these implant testimonials and see what they’re taking out of these women and see that within the bag, there’s all kinds of bacteria and mold,” she said. “And some of them leak. I don’t think mine are leaking, but I don’t know. But they’re older than their due date, they’re expired, by about two years. And two years is really when all these symptoms started happening within me very noticeably.”

She’s read about several women who have had the explant surgery and they all reported that having their implants removed reduced or eliminated symptoms. “I’m very hopeful that happens.”

Gerber plans to check back in with Showbiz Cheat Sheet after her surgery to discuss her experience and post-op recovery.