Separated Abs

Diastasis recti is a condition in which the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle (the “six-pack” muscle) separate, causing a visible bulge in the middle of the abdomen. It is a common condition that affects many women during and after pregnancy, but can also occur in men and women who engage in certain exercises or activities that place stress on the abdominal muscles.

What causes it?

The exact cause of diastasis recti is not known, but it is believed to be related to the stretching of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy or excessive strain on the muscles from certain exercises or activities. Women who are pregnant with multiple fetuses or who have had multiple pregnancies may be at a higher risk for developing diastasis recti.

Diastasis recti can sometimes be related to pelvic floor dysfunction, as the pelvic floor muscles and the abdominal muscles work together to support the organs in the pelvic area. When the abdominal muscles are weak or separated due to diastasis recti, it can put additional strain on the pelvic floor muscles and lead to issues such as urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, and pelvic pain.

It is important to address both diastasis recti and any potential pelvic floor dysfunction in order to achieve optimal pelvic health. A physical therapist who specializes in pelvic floor therapy can provide a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan to address both conditions and improve overall pelvic function.

The signs and symptoms of diastasis recti may include:

  1.  A visible bulge or ridge in the middle of the abdomen: This can be seen when the person performs certain movements, such as sitting up from a lying down position.
  2.  Weakness in the abdominal muscles: The person may have difficulty performing certain exercises or movements that require strong abdominal muscles.
  3.  Lower back pain: Weakness in the abdominal muscles can lead to increased stress on the lower back, which can cause pain and discomfort.
  4.  Poor posture: The condition can also cause the person to adopt a “swayback” posture.

If you suspect that you have diastasis recti, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider or a physical therapist who can help you determine the best course of action. Treatment options may include specific exercises to strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve posture, as well as abdominal support garments or, in severe cases, surgery.

Other helpful sources: 

Pin It on Pinterest