Prolonged cough, regular constipation, pregnancy, rapid weight gain, dramatic weight loss – what do these completely different conditions have in common?
What unites them is that all of them can cause diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.
What is this disease, what is its danger? How to determine if there is diastasis and if so, what stage of the disease? And when do you need to urgently make an appointment with a doctor, and when can you correct the situation on your own, with the help of special exercises to train the muscles of the pelvic floor?
Diastasis – briefly about the essence of the problem and risk groups
Diastasis of the anterior abdominal muscles (ADM) is a divergence of the connective tissue in the front of the abdomen – the white line. The process is similar to a seam on a garment – when it diverges, the pieces do not fit together. When the collagen stretches, the same thing happens with the white line – it diverges.
The development of abdominal diastasis is associated with the peculiarities of the muscular-ligamentous apparatus in the abdomen. On the right and left sides of the navel are two vertical muscles. Between themselves, they are connected by a white line – a strip of tendon tissue. The white color is due to the absence of muscle fibers and a large amount of strong collagen protein.
Under the influence of various factors, the connective tissue is stretched and thinned, and the tendon strip is not able to keep the vertical muscles in the correct position, due to which the distance between them increases.
Normally, the width of the white line is 0.5-2.2 cm. If the distance between the left and right rectus muscles is greater, this is classified as diastasis.
PDM is submissive to all ages and both sexes. In women, the risk of developing diastasis is associated mainly with pregnancy and childbirth. In men, DPM develops with sharp fluctuations in weight due to a decrease in the elasticity of muscle tissues. Another cause of rectus diastasis in men is excessive stress during exercises to strengthen the anterior abdominal wall, which causes increased pressure in the abdominal region. In addition to the above reasons, diastasis can be the result of dysplasia – a congenital weakness of the connective tissue.
What is dangerous diastasis
DPM is not a fatal disease, but its consequences can be extremely unpleasant – from urinary incontinence and back pain to discomfort during sexual activity.
Of particular concern are cases when a hernia of the abdomen joins the diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles and there is a risk of infringement and necrosis of the intestine or adipose tissue. This condition requires emergency surgery. And if a small part of the intestine comes out between the stretched fibers of the white line, the removal of the strangulated area entails lifelong problems.
How to determine if there is diastasis
In order to palpate to determine whether the distance between the two sections of the rectus abdominis has increased, lie on your back and bend your knees. Tightening the press, raise your head and evaluate the distance of the divergence of the connective tissue. Usually, with diastasis of the abdomen, the fingers seem to “fall through” into the hollow between the rectus muscles.
Diastasis of the 2nd and 3rd stages is a reason to consult a doctor. Given the progressive nature of the disease, one should not hope that it will disappear on its own. For those who have the 1st stage of diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles, it is enough to follow the simple recommendations of specialists:
- stabilize weight;
- eat rationally;
- observe the water regime;
- strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor with special exercises.
The best and safest exercises for diastasis
Vacuum or abdominal retraction
Inhale deeply (try to bring the anterior abdominal wall as close to the spine as possible), hold your breath for 30 seconds. Take a few short breaths and return to the starting position. Perform first lying down, a few days later – from a position on all fours, and only then – standing.
One of the simplest and most effective pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the abdominals and improve the recovery of deformed tissues.
It is performed from a supine position, legs hip-width apart, rest their feet on the floor. Raise the pelvis, squeeze the buttocks at the top, lower the pelvis. Exercise for training the muscles of the pelvic floor is performed at a calm, measured pace, without jerks and sudden movements. It tones the pelvic and gluteal muscles.
Standing on all fours, lean on the palms of outstretched hands. Exhale, pulling in the stomach so that it approaches the spinal column while tilting the head and rounding the back. Inhale as you continue to draw in your belly.
Exercise is not only effective for diastasis of the abdomen, but also improves posture, tones the abdominal muscles.
Effective workouts to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor
Like any other muscle tissue, the pelvic floor muscles respond well to proper physical activity. But if you perform exercises with diastasis haphazardly, the effect of such exercises will, at best, be barely noticeable. You need a training program specifically designed for a specific task.