What are the Most Common Symptoms of Postpartum Diastasis Recti?

Although diastasis recti can occur during pregnancy, most women don’t notice any symptoms until after delivery. About 60 % of women experience the condition postpartum, but it often resolves itself as the body heals. Unfortunately, about 40% of women who experience the condition still have diastasis recti six months after delivery and may experience symptoms that include:

  • Tenting or doming of the abdomen when the abdominal muscles contract
  • A visible bulge just above or below the belly button
  • A soft or jelly-like sensation around the belly button
  • A weakened core that makes it difficult to perform everyday tasks like walking or lifting heavy objects
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic, hip, or low back pain
  • Constipation
  • Leaking urine when you sneeze or cough
  • Poor posture
  • A general feeling of weakness in the abdomen

What are the Most Common Symptoms of Diastasis Recti in Males?

The symptoms of diastasis recti in men are the same as those in women with one exception: men don’t experience painful intercourse as a result of the condition. They can, however, experience erectile dysfunction. Other symptoms are the same as above.

Can I Test Myself for Diastasis Recti?

There is a simple test you can do at home to check and see if you have diastasis recti:

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor like you’re getting ready to do a sit-up.
  2. Place two fingers on your abdomen, with one just above your belly button and one just below. Push down slightly, putting a bit of pressure on the area.
  3. Lift your upper body about an inch or two off the ground and notice your abdomen. You will be able to feel your abdominal muscles. If there is a gap between them more than two fingers wide you likely have diastasis recti.

Your doctor can confirm your diagnosis and may use an ultrasound to determine precisely how big the gap between your abdominal muscles is.

Is Diastasis Recti Painful?

Diastasis recti itself is not painful, but some of its side effects can be. Although you won’t feel pain in your abdomen where the muscle separation has occurred, you could experience pain in your back, hips, and pelvis.

Is Trouble Breathing a Symptom of Diastasis Recti?

Some people do experience trouble breathing because of diastasis recti, but this is not a common symptom. People take both deep and shallow breaths. Shallow breaths happen in the chest but deep breathing lifts and expands the abdomen, which can be painful when you have diastasis recti. The best way to correct the problem is to concentrate on taking deep belly breaths to work the muscles and build them back up. If your breathing problem is severe, however, you should contact your doctor immediately.

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