Abdominal diastasis, also known as separation of the recti, is a condition where the abdominal muscles separate, causing a visible bulge or gap in the midline of the abdomen. This separation occurs when the connective tissue (linea alba) between the two sides of the rectus abdominis muscle (the “six-pack” muscle) stretches and weakens, often as a result of pregnancy, obesity, or other factors that increase intra-abdominal pressure.
Loose abdominal muscle can cause a range of symptoms, including lower back pain, poor posture, and a weakened core. In some cases, it may also contribute to hernias or pelvic floor dysfunction.
Types of abdominal diastasis
Diastasis recti, can be classified into different types based on the location of the separation and the underlying cause. The following are some of the most common types of separation:
This is the most common type of diastasis recti and involves a separation of the abdominal muscles along the midline of the belly, from the sternum to the pubic bone.
In some cases, the separation may be limited to the upper part of the abdomen, typically above the belly button.
Similarly, the separation may be limited to the lower part of the abdomen, typically below the belly button.
This type of diastasis recti is present from birth and is often caused by a developmental defect in the abdominal muscles.
This type of divarification of the recti develops later in life, often as a result of pregnancy, obesity, or other factors that increase intra-abdominal pressure.
Degrees of Separation
Abdominal separation of the recti; diastasis, can be categorized into different degrees based on the width of the separation between the rectus abdominis muscles. While there is no universally agreed-upon classification system, some experts use the following guidelines:
Separation of less than two finger-widths (approximately 1-2 cm) at the level of the belly button.
Separation of two to four finger-widths (approximately 2-4 cm) at the level of the belly button.
Separation of more than four finger-widths (approximately 4 cm or more) at the level of the belly button.
Liposuction and abdominal diastasis
While liposuction can be an effective way to reduce fat in the abdominal area, it is not recommended for individuals with abdominal diastasis. In fact, liposuction can potentially make diastasis recti worse by removing fat that is supporting the abdominal muscles and exacerbating the separation.
Treatment options for abdominal diastasis
Instead of liposuction, individuals with abdominal diastasis should focus on exercises that strengthen the abdominal muscles and improve core stability. Physical therapy, targeted exercises, and in some cases, abdominal muscle repair surgery may be recommended to treat diastasis recti.
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