Danica Patrick Opens up About Breast Implant Illness: 'Get Them Removed'

Danica Patrick is opening up about the longtime illness she had due to her breast implants. The former NASCAR and IndyCar driver spoke to PEOPLE about how she listened to her body after her implants caused serious health issues. Patrick got the breast implants in 2014 because she thought it would make her " feel more feminine and sexy."

In 2017, Patrick began to notice issues with her body such as fatigue, hair loss and weight gain. "I thought maybe my hormones were off, so I just said, 'Dig deeper, Danica, try harder,'" Patrick told PEOPLE. The 40-year-old went on to say one of her beasts turned rock-hard and the other followed. "For so many years I didn't hug people tight because I didn't feel like pushing these little balloons into them. Whenever I was with a guy, I could not stop thinking that they knew they were fake," Patrick stated. 

"I went down a pretty deep rabbit hole," she says of trying to get answers. "I had every test that could be done." Earlier this year, Patrick discovered that it was her implants that were the problem after watching a series of videos on social media. She was dealing with Beast Implant Illness (BII) and got her implants removed in March.   

"The condition that is not universally recognized is called breast implant illness," Patrick wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post in April. "Leave it up to the good folks at these drug companies who are selling them to say they are safe. Look it up if you are struggling or know someone that is. The common denominator is you have conditions that can't be resolved. For me this is true." And when talking to PEOPLE Patrick urged anyone in a similar situation to "Trust your intuition. Get them removed, and see how you feel."

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In May, Patrick appeared on Good Morning America to discuss why she wanted implants "I did it 'cause I wanted to be more perfect. What's perfect, right? I wanted the whole package. I wanted to have it all," she said. "I felt like I was very fit and I thought, 'Well, but I just don't have boobs.' It's, like, what's having it all? What is that?" Patrick competed in 191 NASCAR Cup Series races and 116 IndyCar Series races in her career. She finished eighth in the 2013 Daytona 500 and third in the 2009 Indianapolis 500.