Rectus Diastasis – Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

After pregnancy, many women struggle with a protruding belly. Sports and diets have had no effect so far? No wonder, this is not the excess pregnancy kilos, but a rectus diastasis that needs to be treated.

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The linea alba, as doctors call it, is usually one to two centimeters wide. Rectus diastasis is not considered a true hernia, even though it resembles a hernia when standing because of the protrusion.

These Causes Lead To Rectus Diastasis

Basically, a distinction is made between congenital and acquired rectus diastasis. Even though most deformities are acquired – for example, due to pregnancy – there are still some causes that can promote rectus diastasis.

Acquired Rectus Diastasis

Pregnancy is probably the most common reason for rectus diastasis. This is because, during pregnancy, the abdominal muscles stretch and therefore lose tension and elasticity. The pregnancy hormone relaxin also causes a relaxing effect of the linea alba, which also promotes stretching.

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Most often, such a deformity occurs in the last trimester of pregnancy. It is important not to put additional strain on the abdomen by heavy lifting or similar. Repeated or multiple pregnancies significantly increase the risk of rectus diastasis.

Excess weight is another factor that can cause the straight abdominal muscles to fail. This is because in this case, the abdominal wall can also be overstretched by the abdominal fat.

Inborn Rectus Diastasis

Very few deformities of the straight abdominal muscles are actually congenital. If this is the case, however, the abdominal muscles do not run parallel to each other – as in normal cases – but diverge upward. The so-called linea alba spreads, which can cause the abdominal wall to show a bulge.

Rectus Diastasis In Newborns

Although it is realtively rare, malalignment of the straight abdominal muscles can occur in newborns or infants. One reason is that the distance between the two abdominal muscles is already relatively wide.

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The good news is that if your baby suffers from rectus diatasis, you don’t have to worry. As a rule, this deformity disappears on its own when children start walking. In most cases, surgery is not even necessary.

What Are The Symptoms Of Rectus Diastasis? Can Rectus Diastasis Be Treated? When Surgery Is Necessary

If you suffer from significant pain and are very limited in your daily life as a result, medical intervention will be unavoidable. In addition, in the case of a severe rectus diastasis, parts of organs can also be pinched. Treatment without surgery is not possible in this case.

However, surgery is not only performed in case of physical discomfort. If the appearance of your abdomen is such a burden that you notice psychological effects, an operation is advisable in any case. It is best to clarify beforehand whether your health insurance will cover the costs. However, in most cases, the patient must pay for the operation out of his own pocket.

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Procedure Of The Operation

During surgery, the gap between the two straight abdominal muscles is closed. These procedures are usually offered in conjunction with an abdominoplasty to gain good access to the muscles.

The rectus muscles are sutured back together and the excess abdominal skin is also removed. However, if there is an abdominal wall hernia, the muscles may need additional stabilization with plastic mesh.

After Surgery

It is important during this time that you wear special compression garments for about six weeks. In addition, sports or other physical activities are taboo for the next four weeks! Your doctor is the best person to talk to if you have any questions about the operation and the time afterwards.

Summarizing The Most Important Things

As you already know, a rectus diastasis is understood to be the protrusion of the straight abdominal muscles. However, the reasons for this deformity can be quite different. On the one hand a rectus diastasis can be acquired, on the other hand it can also be congenital. However, this is the case in very few cases.

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Overweight, several pregnancies or multiple pregnancies are the most common triggers for the malposition of the straight abdominal muscles. Whether and how the treatment can look, can not be said in general terms.

Your doctor must first determine the extent of your rectus diastasis. You have no pain and are not restricted in your everyday life? Great, then special training of the abdominal muscles or physiotherapy is an option for you.

However, if you suffer from physical or psychological discomfort, surgery is unavoidable. It is best to arrange an examination and a consultation with your doctor.


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