A sporty fit figure is the dream of many women. But sometimes it happens that no amount of diet and exercise does not help in the fight against a bulging belly. In some cases, such changes can signal the presence of diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles. Let's figure out what it is and how to deal with it?
What is diastasis?
According to etymology, the word "diastasis" means a certain distance, a gap - by analogy with the words "diameter" or "diagonal". Thus, diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles is their divergence. From the sides and partly from the front, the abdominal cavity is limited by 3 muscles: the external oblique, the internal oblique, and also the transverse. Each has its own aponeurosis, which surrounds and separates them. These aponeuroses first merge into one, then split to form a vagina for the rectus abdominis muscle, and then reconnect, forming the so-called white line of the abdomen. Actually, the divergence of the rectus abdominis muscles - what is called diastasis - occurs due to the fact that it is the white line that is overly stretched. Normally, the rectus abdominis muscles do not adhere closely to each other. The distance between them in the area above the navel reaches 2, 5-3 cm.
Who is at risk?
Of course, first of all, the risk group includes those people who have poorly developed muscles of the whole body, including the abdominal muscles. Those who have prolapse of the internal organs are also susceptible to diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles, because in this case the organs press harder on the abdominal wall in its lower part. It is just more often and more strongly that organ prolapse occurs in those people whose muscles are less developed. Pregnant women are also at risk: bearing a large fetus, polyhydramnios or multiple pregnancies can provoke a divergence of the rectus abdominis muscles. In these conditions, the entire anterior abdominal wall is stretched more, including the connective tissue in the area of the white line of the abdomen.
How to determine diastasis?
In order to diagnose and accurately determine the degree of muscle divergence, you must consult a doctor. But even at home, it is quite possible to identify diastasis in oneself. Lie on a flat surface, push yourself up, lift your head and shoulder girdle, and cough. In the presence of a defect in the anterior abdominal wall in the area of divergence of the rectus muscles, a well-contoured roller-like protrusion is formed, visible to the naked eye. This method will not work if there is a pronounced fat layer on the abdomen.
How to avoid diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles?
To protect yourself from divergence of the rectus abdominis muscles, it is necessary to keep the muscles in good shape. There is an opinion that for this you need to do abdominal exercises. However, with organ prolapse (which not everyone knows about their presence) or poorly developed abdominal muscles, training the abdominal muscles in the traditional way, lifting the torso or legs, is not only ineffective, but even dangerous. Try to observe what happens when you start to lift your torso from a prone position: the stomach bulges out, that is, the effect is the opposite of the desired one.
So, what are the effective measures for the prevention of diastasis?
• Breathing exercises associated with abdominal retraction. At the same time, the tension can be very strong, and the increase in intra-abdominal pressure is completely excluded, in contrast to classic workouts for the press, when a person sits down, fixing or not fixing his legs.
• Diet. In order for your muscles to be in good shape, animal proteins must be present in your diet. They provide good quality connective tissue.
• For women in position, it makes sense to use a properly selected bandage, both during pregnancy and immediately after childbirth.
How to eliminate diastasis?
The breathing exercises, which I mentioned above, help not only prevent diastasis, but also restore the normal position of the muscles, in case the discrepancy has already occurred. In my opinion, the best exercise for strengthening the internal transverse abdominal muscles is the "Vacuum". How to do it correctly?
• Lie on your back, place your arms along your body, bend your legs at the knees, and place your feet on the floor.
• Breathe out the air from your lungs and draw in your stomach as much as possible.
• Hold this position for as long as possible, then inhale and repeat the exercise again.
You can also do this exercise while sitting. Each time you need to increase the time of muscle tension. If you do the "Vacuum" daily, the muscles will tighten, the waist will decrease and the shape of the press will significantly improve. If you do not have a very large discrepancy, then using this exercise you can completely get rid of diastasis.
In some cases, when the white line of the abdomen is excessively stretched, and the discrepancy of the muscles reaches 6-8 cm, it is almost impossible to solve the problem in a conservative way. If in this situation the surgeon recommends surgery for you, then it is better to perform it. This is extremely important, since the divergence of the rectus abdominis muscles can provoke the development of hernias. Operating techniques are now at a high level, there are special materials that help to strengthen the abdominal wall and effectively solve the problem of diastasis of the rectus abdominis muscles.
Expert: Vladimir Zhivotov, osteopathic doctor