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Diastasis Recti

IntroductionOPT_womens_health

Diastasis recti is a separation between the right and left side of the rectus abdominis muscle, which covers the front surface of the belly area.  This condition is commonly found in women who have had multiple pregnancies and newborns.

Anatomy

A diastasis recti looks like a ridge that runs down the middle of the belly area.  It stretches from the bottom of the breastbone to the bellybutton, and increases with muscle straining.

Causes

Diastasis recti is commonly seen in women who have had multiple pregnancies because the muscles have been stretched many times.  This is due to excess skin developing in the abdominal area just above the uterus.  In the later part of a pregnancy, the top of the pregnant uterus is often seen bulging out of the abdominal wall.

Symptoms

The most obvious sign of this condition is a line that runs down the patient’s belly from the breastbone to the bellybutton.  The line becomes more noticeable as the patient becomes more physically active.  In some more severe cases, it is sometimes possible to see outlines of portions of the unborn child.

Diagnosis

This condition can be diagnosed through a physical examination by your physician.

Treatment

If you are diagnosed with this condition, it is important to meet with your physical therapist to resolve the problem.  If left unresolved, this could lead to poor core stabilization, pelvic floor dysfunction, back, or pelvic pain.  Your physical therapist will guide you to perform safe exercises that will help to close this gap within the abdominal muscles.

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