(AscendHealthy.com) – Some people can exercise every day, even specifically targeting their abs, and that spare tire doesn’t seem to budge. In these cases, the problem could be more than belly fat; it could result from a medical condition.
Diastasis recti is most commonly associated with pregnancy in women, but it can occur in anyone. We have the breakdown of the causes, as well as what to watch out for.
Diastasis recti results from structural weakening in the rectus abdominis muscles, located in the stomach region just below the belly button. According to Healthline, most cases begin during pregnancy, forcing the two sections of muscle apart as the womb takes up more space. The physical stress of childbirth can also worsen the divide, and new mothers may notice a difference in the way the muscle sits and functions.
In men, improperly performing planks, crunches, sit-ups, push-ups, or weightlifting is usually to blame. Bodybuilders are most likely to develop this condition, although obesity, and the strain it puts on the abdominal region, can be a factor in some cases.
Identifying Diastasis Recti
Some symptoms that often come with diastasis recti — poor posture, lower back pain, bloating, constipation, and urinary incontinence — are nonspecific and may not point toward a diagnosis. However, a simple at-home test can help make the investigation more specific:
Lie down on your back and feel the center of your stomach between the belly button and the pelvis. With your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, keep your shoulders down, and lift your head in a small crunch position. Is there a gap between the left and right regions of muscle tissue?
A space measuring the length of one or two fingers indicates a moderate form of the condition. A wider gap could indicate a more severe problem. When it’s the result of pregnancy, this gap usually narrows over time as the stomach muscles strengthen. If it doesn’t or if it’s caused by obesity or stress from exercise, addressing the underlying cause can help reduce the effects.
Prevention and Treatment
The best way to prevent diastasis recti is to keep the stomach muscles strong. Good posture and proper core exercises can both go a long way in preserving strength. Other ways to improve stomach muscle integrity include performing diaphragmatic breathing, doing standing push-ups, and practicing certain yoga moves like the bridge pose.
Certain exercises, like crunches, can make this condition worse. People who are concerned about having severe cases of diastasis recti should see their doctors for advice. In some cases, sufferers develop herniated tissue, which may require surgical repair.
Diastasis recti could be more common than many of us realize, and it could be making a lot of people look heavier than they really are. For those who’ve become frustrated because they can’t seem to get their stomachs flatter no matter what they do, there may be another direction to look. Take the home test or talk to your doctor to see if you have options.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Ascension
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