Abdominal diastasis: what is it, how to identify and what to do
The abdominal diastasis, also called diastasis of the rectus, is the separation of the abdominal muscles and the connective tissue in the region of the white line, caused by the weakening of these muscles, and producing symptoms such as flaccidity of the belly and a bulk that sale by arriba or debajo del ombligo.
Abdominal diastasis usually occurs after the embarrassment, being the main cause of abdominal flaccidity and lumbar pain in the postpartum period, but it can also occur in babies or due to abdominal obesity, for example.
The treatment of abdominal diastasis can be performed with exercise, physiotherapy or, in some cases, surgery, especially when there is a distance greater than 5 cm and the exercises have not been effective to correct the alteration.
Symptoms of abdominal diastasis
The main symptoms of abdominal diastasis are:
- Bulto in the abdomen, up the lower abdomen, especially when lifting something heavy, squatting or tossing;
- Excessive flaccidity in the belly;
- Abdominal weakness;
- Difficulty lifting objects or carrying out day-to-day activities, such as walking;
- Pain during intimate contact;
- Lumbar pain, in the pelvis or in the chair;
- Urinary incontinence before exertion, such as coughing or upsetting;
In addition, you can have a bad posture, feeling of swollen belly or feeling of gelatinous skin.
The distance of the abdominal muscles can reach 10 cm of distance, being important that the doctor performs a clinical evaluation and indicates the appropriate treatment.
How is the treatment performed?
The treatment of abdominal diastasis must be guided by the doctor and varies according to the degree of distance of the abdominal muscles, since the treatment time may vary according to the size of the diastasis, and when the mayor seas the space, but It will be difficult to unite new fibers through exercise or physical therapy. However, in diastasis smaller than 5 cm, if the treatment is carried out every day, after 2 to 3 months it will be possible to observe the decrease in diastasis.
The main options for the treatment of abdominal diastasis that the doctor can recommend are:
1. Clinical Pilates Exercises
Exercises for abdominal diastasis are indicated to reduce the distance of the abdominal muscles and strengthen the muscles that provide stability to the abdominal area, and must be carried out under the supervision of a physical therapist or personal trainer, or that, in case they are not performed. Correctly, they can cause an increase in intraabdominal pressure and increase the separation of the rectus muscles, worsening diastasis or causing a hernia.
Generally, these exercises can be indicated around 6 to 8 weeks postpartum, after having received a medical evaluation, being able to be indicated clinical pilates exercises or hypopressive exercises, for example.
These exercises are the ones that are most indicated because the transversus abdominis muscle and the lower fibers of the rectus abdominis contract, strengthening them, without excessive pressure on the rectus abdominis.
In addition, it is important to point out that exercises such as abdominal exercises, plancha or lizards, for example, should be avoided, as they can tighten the distance from the abdominal muscles.
Watch the following video some hypopressive exercises to help correct abdominal diastasis:
Physiotherapy for abdominal diastasis can be indicated by a doctor and must be carried out with the guidance of a physiotherapist, through stretching exercises and strengthening of the rectus abdominis, pelvic floor and lumbar muscles.
The physiotherapeutic treatment must be guided by the physical therapist individually, and it may even be recommended to use equipment, such as functional electrical stimulation (FES) that causes muscle contraction. This apparatus can be used for 15 to 20 minutes and is very efficient in strengthening the abdominal rectum. See how electrotherapy is performed.
Surgery for abdominal diastasis is usually indicated by the doctor when:
- The distance from the rectus abdominis muscles is greater than 5 cm;
- Exercises or physical therapy have not been effective in decreasing the distance between the muscles;
- Presence of symptoms such as lumbar pain or stress urinary incontinence;
- Aesthetic reasons.
Abdominal diastasis surgery consists of suturing the rectus abdominis muscles together, which can be performed conventionally or by laparoscopy. In addition, the doctor may also suggest a liposuction or abdominoplasty to remove the excess skin or fat, suturing the muscle at the end.
Care during treatment
During the treatment to correct abdominal diastasis it is also recommended:
- Maintain a good posture of pie and sitting;
- Maintain the contraction of the transversus abdominis muscle throughout the day, this exercise is known as hypopressive abdominal. For this only, you need to try to bring the belly close to the back, putting the belly in especially when you are sitting, but you must maintain this contraction throughout the day. See how to perform these hypopressive abdominals;
- Avoid to the maximum dobbling the body adelante as if it hiciera a traditional abdominal because it empeoras the diastasis;
- Whenever you need to crouch down to grab something from the floordoble las piernas y agáchese con el cuerpo entero para no el cuerpo hacia adelante;
- Only change the baby’s pañal on a high surface, as a changer of pañales, if it is necessary to change it in bed, keep rollers on the floor so as not to tilt the body adelante;
- Use a postpartum faja During most of the day and even when sleeping, but don’t forget to keep the belly inside to strengthen the transversus abdominis during the day.
Besides this is important do not perform traditional abdominal exercises, ni the oblique abdominal to not worsen the diastasis.
The treatment time may vary depending on the size of the diastasis, and the greater the space between the muscles, the more difficult it will be to promote the union of the fibers only with exercises or physiotherapy. However, in diastasis with less than 5 cm, if the treatment is carried out daily, in approximately 2 to 3 months it will be possible to observe the decrease of the separation.
Complications of diastasis
The main complication of abdominal diastasis is the onset of back pain in the lumbar region. This pain occurs because the abdominal muscles act as a natural brace that protects the spine while walking, sitting and exercising. When this muscle is very weak, the spine becomes overloaded and there is a greater risk of developing a herniated disc.
For this reason, it is important to carry out the treatment, promoting the union and the strengthening of the abdominal fibers.
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