Restore Your Core Diastasis Recti Hernia

Diastasis Recti Hernia

Restore Your Core Promotion

Diastasis Recti Hernia

By Lauren Ohayon 02/08/2021

4 Min Read

Diastasis recti is a common condition that is often mistaken or confused with a hernia. However, the two conditions are unique and require a variety of different treatments. Diastasis is latin for the separation of two parts. Recti is a latin plural meaning straight. In the medical field, diastasis recti is the separation of the linea alba (the straight line in between your six pack muscles) and the abdominal wall, commonly referred to as the six-pack muscles.

The confusion between diastasis recti and a hernia arises from the small to large bulge that may result in the midline due to diastasis recti and since a hernia is due to a “gap” – they are often confused. Please note that the two can often go hand in hand

What is Diastasis Recti?

A diastasis recti is a separation of the abdominal wall muscles (the rectus abdominis). Most of us know the famous 6-pack muscles by looking at fitness models or bodybuilders as they are the most superficial layer of muscle and easily spottable when body fat is low and muscle tone is high. With a diastasis recti, these muscles separate in the center of the abs, causing a gap between the left and right sides of the muscle. The left and right sides of the muscle attach into a connective tissue that runs from your ribs to your pubic bone and that tissue, the linea alba – stretches and thins and as a result – the 6-pack splits – left from right.

Are you looking for safe and restorative exercises to heal from your pelvic floor symptoms?

Learn more about the RYC program

Are you looking for safe and restorative exercises to heal from your pelvic floor symptoms?

Learn more about the RYC program

In both men and women, this gap can be created in the midline of your belly anywhere from the pubic bone to the base of your ribcage. One obvious way to feel for the gap is during a crunch or sit-up, where one would normally feel tension and closure at the center of the abs, there is a space and a gap and your fingers can sink into your belly easily.

What is a Hernia?

Your abdomen contains layers upon layers of muscles and strong tissues. These help you move while also supporting and protecting the internal organs. A hernia occurs when the muscular wall becomes compromised and allows the contents inside the abdomen to descend outward. There are many different types of hernias, but the most common two occur in the belly or groin area.

Diastasis Recti vs Hernia

As you may be aware, distinguishing between a hernia and diastasis recti may be challenging. However, there are distinct characteristics that help differentiate the two.

A diastasis recti occurs only at the midline of the abdominal wall. Although it can range in placement and severity from the rib cage down to the pubic bone, it does not vear from the midline of the abdomen.

A hernia can occur anywhere in the abdominal wall, groin, or even in the diaphragm. Hernias more often occur at the site of a prior surgery or due to a weakened abdominal wall due to the compromised muscle structures that typically occur after an invasive abdominal surgery.

A diastasis may enlarge over time, but not in the same way a hernia does. Diastasis recti may stretch or spread in span due to continued strain and excessive levels of pressure on the midline. However, a hernia may enlarge over time if left untreated which may lead to life-threatening complications – strangulation.

Hernias can incarcerate (also known as strangulate) which cuts off the blood supply to that particular section of the intestine. As stated before, this can be a life-threatening situation.

This is not a concern with diastasis recti.

Hernia vs Diastasis Recti Pregnancy

There are several common types of hernias that may be mistaken as diastasis recti. These include umbilical hernia and ventral hernia. In some cases, these types of hernias may be present alongside diastasis recti.

Umbilical Hernia

Umbilical hernias are more common in children and newborns, but may affect older men and women as well. Umbilical hernias typically create a soft swelling or bulge near the belly button. This occurs when a section of the intestine protrudes through the umbilical opening in the abdomen. These hernias are typically painless and often resolve on their own as the abdominal wall continues to develop.

Adults may experience an umbilical hernia as a result of excess strain on the abdominals due to pregnancy, fluid in the abdomen (ascites), or other abdominal complications such as diastasis recti.

An umbilical hernia may be more common during the second trimester of pregnancy as your intestines become pushed toward your abdominal wall and your back. Although a hernia is typically considered uncommon during pregnancy, there are a few risk factors to be aware of:

  • previous hernia before pregnancy
  • have weak or compromised abdominal muscles
  • have diastasis recti or a small opening between the abdominal muscles
  • have excess fluid in the stomach or body

Ventral Hernia

A ventral hernia may affect men or women at any time. In some cases, a ventral hernia may be present prior to pregnancy or may occur during the pregnancy period. You should talk with your doctor about possible treatments or precautionary measures regarding a hernia that may arise during your pregnancy. In most cases, your doctor will postpone any surgical treatments until after delivery.

You don’t have to live in

fear, pain or discomfort

Get back the confidence + lifestyle you love.

You don’t have to live in

fear, pain or discomfort

Get back the confidence + lifestyle you love.

Diastasis Recti & Pregnancy

Diastasis recti often occurs during a pregnancy. As your uterus expands and becomes larger and wider, it is common for the rectus abdominis muscles to separate to allow for your growing child. In many cases, the muscles will return and heal on their own during the postpartum period. However, there are some instances where the diastasis remains postpartum.

Finding a proactive pregnancy prehab program may significantly reduce the probability of a diastasis occuring post-pregnancy. In addition, a restorative exercise program postpartum could help you regain your core function and strength, thus, potentially reducing the severity or presence of a diastasis recti.

Can Diastasis Recti Cause a Hernia?

In some cases, a diastasis recti may allow for portions of your organs to slip through the abdominal wall, thus resulting in a hernia. Due to a compromised linea alba and supportive tissues and compromised muscle structures, preperitoneal fat can protrude through the linea alba. This is called an epigastric hernia and can occur in men, women, and children. It is also probable that a diastasis recti that is located closer to the belly button may result in an umbilical hernia.

These midline hernias may have noticeable lumps or a bulge and may result in sudden, sharp, severe pain with exercise.