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diastasis recti

Diastasis Recti: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

Struggling with a stomach bulge or protrusion isn’t easy, especially when you’re trying out myriads of exercise routines to get rid of it. And worst yet, it might get disappointing after some time. That’s because the protruded belly won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Commonly, pregnant women deal with diastasis recti, and the problem persists after childbirth. In this condition, the outermost abdominal muscles on the left and right side of the navel have separated from each other.

Diastasis recti is a medical condition that needs surgical intervention. However, some exercises can also help. That depends on the severity of the problem, though. It isn’t something that only affects pregnant women. It can also happen to men and even newborn babies. Heavy lifting or the wrong exercise can result in this condition. So, if you’re struggling with this problem for quite a while, you should make sure to get yourself checked. Here, we’ll guide you about diastasis recti and what are the steps that you can take to help with this condition. 

What is Diastasis Recti? 

It is a medical condition in which the “six-pack” muscles are completely or partially separated. This results in the widening between the rectus abdominis causing the stomach to protrude or come out. 

What Are the Causes of Diastasis Recti? 

It is something that pregnant women commonly experience due to the stretching of the uterus. The abdominal muscles are unable to take the pressure, which results in their separation. Pushing during the birthing process can also lead to the separation of the abdominal muscles.

A woman who’s having twins or triplets is at a greater risk of having diastasis recti. Even after childbirth, the protruding belly might give it the appearance of a pregnancy belly. For years, the appearance of the belly can remain the same, which can cause aesthetic concerns for the person who is dealing with this issue. 

Genetics also has to do with the fact that some people are more vulnerable to developing diastasis recti than others. If the mother of the woman had diastasis recti, then the chances of her having it increase. 

A newborn child can also have this condition at birth. That can happen if the baby’s premature so that his/her abdominal muscles are not fully developed. It usually goes away on its own in that case. 

If your body is experiencing sudden and frequent changes in weight, then too you are vulnerable to developing diastasis recti. When doing exercise, be careful and knowledgeable about what you’re doing as certain exercises can also tear the abdominal muscles apart. Core exercises that many women do after giving birth can end up damaging the core itself, leaving them with this condition. 

What Are the Diastasis Recti Symptoms?

In diastasis recti, you can visibly see the separated abdominal muscles. It might not be painful, but there are other problems that come with diastasis recti. And they can cause you pain. For instance, you can experience low back pain, hip pain, bad posture, digestive issues, bloating, constipation, and urinary incontinence due to diastasis recti. 

One telltale sign of diastasis recti is that the bulge stays even after you’ve lost your pregnancy weight. You might still look pregnant. Other than that, you’ll also notice that your belly protrudes more if you’re sitting down. Therefore, try to keep an eye out for these symptoms. 

  • Dos and Don’ts of Diastasis Recti 

Avoid doing anything that can make the condition worse. For instance, any sort of heavy lifting is definitely not a good idea. Carrying your own body weight can also adversely impact the diastasis recti. Crunches, push-ups, and certain yoga poses can also make the condition worse. This is why you should always get in touch with a doctor before going on with any self-prescribed treatment. It may end up doing more harm than good.

It is a good idea to do some core strengthening exercises before you get pregnant. This can strengthen your muscles for what’s to come. It may help prevent the separation of the rectus abdominis. 

How to Diagnose Diastasis Recti? 

It is difficult to know if you have diastasis recti while you’re pregnant. You might be able to get any confirmation about its presence a few weeks after giving birth. You can wait until then, or if you’re feeling okay, you can also perform a self-examination at home to find out if you have this condition. 

Make sure that you’re lying down with your knees bent. To make it more comfortable, prop your head on a pillow. Now, only slightly raise your head and extend your arms in front of you, then feel your muscles along the navel. You can find out the space between your muscles by gently putting your fingers between them. If you can fit three or more fingers in between them, then it might be diastasis recti. Still, for a proper diagnosis, we recommend you visit your doctor. 

Are There Some Diastasis Recti Exercises for Treatment? 

The diastasis recti exercises that you want to try out for treatment should first be discussed with the doctor, especially if you’ve recently given birth. Your body needs time to heal, and if you exert too much pressure on it, you can end up harming yourself. To begin with, take it slow. Sit-ups and crunches are an absolute no-no. Any yoga poses in which you have to be on your hands and knees are also harmful. 

Exercising with a belly splint can also provide support to the abdominal muscles. Wearing it when you have diastasis recti can also help. However, keep in mind that if your diastasis recti is severe, then you shouldn’t rely on exercise alone to heal. If the symptoms of diastasis recti persist 8 weeks after you’ve given birth, then you should go to a doctor for a check-up. 

Other than exercise, you should also do postural training. Whenever you sit down, you should put a pillow underneath yourself. This can provide support to your back. Your doctor might also recommend some deep muscle exercises or the ones involving your pelvic floor muscles. Do not try any intensive exercise routine without discussing it with your doctor. 

Can Tummy Tuck Surgery Treat Diastasis Recti? 

If the muscles are separated too far apart, you might need to undergo tummy tuck surgery for treatment. There’s a reason why undergoing a tummy tuck surgery for diastasis recti is the better option. When you have tummy tuck surgery, the surgeon removes the excess fat and skin. The surgeon will bring together the two rectus abdominis muscles so that it leaves the stomach contoured and smooth. 

Keep in mind that you won’t necessarily have to undergo all these things during the surgery. Your needs and preferences will determine what gets done during the surgery. It also largely depends on the anatomy of the patient. 

Without surgery, it’s not possible to treat a severe case of diastasis recti. With a diastasis recti tummy tuck, the surgeon will repair your muscles and remove the excess skin which causes aesthetic concerns even after the protrusion is gone. Once you have this surgery, you’ll be able to enjoy the stomach in your previous glory. So, to answer your question, yes, tummy tuck surgery can treat diastasis recti. In fact, it can do a better job of treating it than anything else.

How is the Recovery Process of Diastasis Recti Surgery? 

The recovery process from any surgery can largely depend on the patient itself. How old the patient is, what’s their lifestyle, any history of illnesses can all determine how slowly or quickly the patient recovers. Still, of course, there’s an average timeline for recovery. If everything goes smoothly during the recovery process, then you can expect things to get back to normal in a few weeks. You can go back to work at least a couple of weeks after the surgery. Do not do any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for at least a month after the surgery takes place. It will take some time for the swelling to go away. 

Make sure that you’re following all the aftercare instructions. That’s because a complication may arise, which can set you back while you’re on your path to recovery. You might also need to wear garments after the surgery, as it helps you with the recovery process.

Concluding Note 

Diastasis recti, if severe, can be best treated through tummy tuck surgery. The stomach bulge from the separation of the outermost abdominal muscles can have an unsightly appearance. Moreover, it can cause other issues, such as back pain, constipation, etc. This can negatively impact the quality of life of a person. 

Diastasis recti tummy tuck surgery will also take care of the excess skin and fat. You can enjoy a smooth, contoured body afterwards. Some exercises can help, but if the muscles are widely separated, surgery offers the only treatment. If you’re suffering from this problem or have any other questions, get in touch with our experts today.

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