A rectus diastasis does NOT require a tummy tuck to be repaired. I frequently repair the rectus diastasis through old C-section scars as well as through belly button incisions.
Yes, it's possible to fix diastasis recti without surgery. Surgery is rarely performed to fix diastasis recti. Healthcare providers will recommend physical therapy or at-home exercises to help heal diastasis before surgical methods.
It's never too late to heal diastasis recti and restore core strength and function with exercise. Many women suffer from lingering core issues for years, and even decades, after their pregnancies.
The key to healing diastasis recti is rebuilding your core from the inside out. You need to strengthen the transverse abdominis (TVA) muscle, which is the deepest abdominal muscle and can provide support for those muscles that have been stretched.
APRIL 2022 UPDATE:
The government announced in the Federal Budget that it will allow women after babies to have access to Medicare assistance again if they can demonstrate an ongoing muscle separation (diastasis) causing pain. They allocated over $6 million dollars to make this possible.
Untreated in adults, diastasis recti or when your abs separate, can lead to lower back pains, poor posture, hernia, constipation and weakened pelvic alignment.
Surgery for diastasis recti can help you feel better physically. It can also help you feel better about the way your abdomen looks. Sometimes, diastasis recti will get better on its own. It might also get a little better if you do exercises to make your core muscles strong.
The most common symptom of diastasis recti is a pooch or bulge in your stomach, especially when you strain or contract your abdominal muscles. Additional symptoms include: lower back pain. poor posture.
One of the most common messages we receive from moms is “Can you heal diastasis recti years later?” Many moms think they've left it too late to make a difference and worry that nothing can be done . If that sounds like you, don't worry, the short answer to, 'Can I heal years later? is “Yes!”
Any movement, posture, or exertion that causes the ribs to thrust, abs to bulge forward, or puts a downward or bulging pressure on the pelvic floor can exacerbate or induce diastasis recti.
How is Diastasis Recti Treated? Tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery is the only effective treatment for diastasis recti. Once the tissue that connects the abdominal muscles has become stretched, it usually won't heal on its own, regardless of how much you exercise.
Diastasis is considered severe when the connective tissue is stretched and the muscles of your core can no longer support your pelvic and abdominal region. Specifically, when your deep core cannot generate tension and hold you stable and strong.
Brown explains, no amount of weight loss can fix the physical problem of having two muscles stretched apart. They must be sewn back together, which is why diastasis recti repair is best performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.
A diastasis recti repair can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $19,000. The actual cost of a diastasis recti repair is dependent upon location, board certified plastic surgeon, and length and involvement of the plastic surgery.
In most cases, recti diastasis usually heals on its own over a postpartum period of 6 weeks to 3 months.
Diastasis Recti Exercises to Avoid
Skip any movement or exercise that places strain on the midline or causes the belly to bulge outward, like sit-ups and planks.
There will be some natural shrinking of a diastasis recti in the months post pregnancy, but a waist trainer is unlikely to assist in this process. If you sustain a bad cut, it makes sense to have the two sides stitched together to allow proper healing.
The science is conclusive that the safest and most effective strategy for preventing diastasis is with consistent physical activity, weight management, and core strengthening exercises (including crunches) throughout a healthy pregnancy and postpartum.
Can Diastasis Recti Get Worse Over Time? Over time, Diastasis Recti can worsen as the separation increases. This results in the internal abdominal organs, such as the uterus and intestines, having less protection in the front to hold them in place.
Diastasis Recti Symptoms
Alternatively, you may notice a “pooch” around your belly button that looks like a ball of pizza dough. In contrast, some diastasis recti symptoms are less obvious. Your stomach may look flat, but the waistline is wider, necessitating a bigger pants size.
Bloating and constipation can both be symptoms of diastasis recti. Your ab muscles hold certain organs in place, like your intestines. When your ab muscles are weakened due to diastasis recti, it doesn't support your muscles as well. This can cause you to look and feel bloated.
If you feel a gap of at least two finger widths between the muscles as they contract, you have a diastasis. A gap as wide as four or five fingers is considered severe. Repeat the procedure below and above your belly button because the separation may be wider in different places.
Since diastasis recti surgery involves muscle repair, you should expect some muscle soreness and pain for the first few days after your surgery. Your wounds will also show some swelling and bruising. These symptoms might take up to 2 weeks to subside.
When to Consider Diastasis Recti Surgery. If your diastasis recti is severe, or if it's not improving to your satisfaction after exercise, you may consider going under the knife to correct it. But "only consider surgery if conservative treatment of therapeutic exercise and physical therapy has failed," Butts says.
Abdominal separation is more common in women who have had more than 1 child, are aged over 35 or who are having twins or triplets (or more). It can also occur in a small-statured woman who is having a larger-than-average baby. It is sometimes known as 'DRAM' (diastasis of rectus abdominis muscle).