Lifestyle Health Danica Patrick's Breast Implants Had Become 'Deformed': My Body Was Trying to 'Protect Me from Them' The former NASCAR driver had her implants removed in April after dealing with years of significant health problems By Julie Mazziotta Julie Mazziotta Twitter Julie Mazziotta is the Sports Editor at PEOPLE, covering everything from the NFL to tennis to Simone Biles and Tom Brady. She was previously an Associate Editor for the Health vertical for six years, and prior to joining PEOPLE worked at Health Magazine. When not covering professional athletes, Julie spends her time as a (very) amateur athlete, training for marathons, long bike trips and hikes. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 1, 2022 04:58 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Danica Patrick. Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Danica Patrick is feeling "really good" about her decision to get her breast implants removed after eight years and dozens of health problems. The former NASCAR driver, 40, shared in April after dealing with significant health problems for years — including hypothyroidism, hair loss, low estrogen levels, weight gain and gut imbalances — she opted to have them removed. And Patrick saw an immediate change. "I started feeling better within hours after surgery," she told Fox News this week. Since Patrick got the implants in Nov. 2014, her body appeared to be trying to fight them, she said. "If you put something in your body that's not natural, your body is going to protect itself. Your body will form scar tissue around it to protect you from it," she said. "And that's called a capsule. My implants produced a lot of capsules. They seemed soft enough for the first couple of years, but then they hardened up more." Danica Patrick Says 'The Heal Is Real' One Week After Having Her Breast Implants Removed Patrick initially thought the capsules were "from crashing into walls" during racing, but she still gained new ones after retiring from the sport in 2018. "So I knew that wasn't it," she said. "My body was continuing to try and protect me from [her breast implants]." And after the implants came out in April, it was clear that they had become damaged over time. "The doctor said … my scar tissue capsules were both folded inside the implant. They had shrunk up so much from so much scar tissue forming that they were deformed," Patrick said. "But I also think it's impossible to put a foreign object in your body and not have your body respond to some degree," she added. "Every individual is different, of course … But are we really doing enough studies on them? Are people truly educated on the potential side effects and risks? Doctors tell us that they're safe, but they're also selling them." RELATED VIDEO: Tamra Judge Removes Breast Implants, Says She's Already Noticing 'Health Improvements' Patrick had been "trying to hide [her health problems] for a long time," but decided to go public with them after her implants came out. "I'm so grateful that I did share my experience," she said. "After hearing my story, some people may suspect they might be dealing with the same thing and not feel so alone." Patrick said that she initially got breast implants out of her own concern that she didn't look "feminine" enough. Danica Patrick on Struggling with Body Image and Social Media: 'I Think There's a Yearning for Real' "I think it was more my own pressure at the beginning of how I felt like I should look," she said. "I felt like I wanted to be more feminine. I wanted to have what, in my mind, felt like an ideal body." But getting them out "felt more like freedom," Patrick said. "I feel better about my body. I feel like I look better, to be honest. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. I'm glad they're out. I feel more like myself."