Diastasis Recti in Men: Possible Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Tips

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Men, are you finding it difficult to perform regular tasks such as carrying objects, bending, and sitting up from a flat position? Or do you experience back pain after a restful night? It could be your core telling you there is something wrong.

Diastasis recti in men does not hold life-threatening symptoms, but it can make your life more difficult than it needs to be. We will focus on what causes diastasis recti in men and possible treatments for diastasis recti symptoms in men.

What Does Diastasis Recti in Men Mean?

The diastasis term comes from the Greek word “to separate.” Diastasis recti refers to the separation of the rectus abdominis muscles that run vertically on either side of the naval from the breastbone to the pubic bone. This stretching of the muscles can reach a gap of at least one inch or more.

Diastasis recti happens in men gradually over time and is noted by a protruding bulge in the mid-abdomen. It can be fully seen when doing a sit-up exercise. It is often misdiagnosed as weight gain due to the lacking tone of muscles and the look of a pooch.

Causes and Symptoms of Diastasis Recti in Men

Diastasis recti is found in infants due to muscle development problems and in pregnant women from the abdomen stretching from growing uterus. Diastasis recti in men is seen due to several factors.

1. Incorrect Exercising

It is important to perform any type of workout routine or strength training exercise with the proper techniques. Diastasis recti can occur from poorly managed sit-ups or weightlifting exercises.

2. Excess Weight

Extra weight on a woman usually happens on the hips, whereas men tend to add weight in the abdomen first. When men gain weight quickly, the extra pounds can apply increased pressure on the stomach muscle and cause diastasis recti to occur.

3. Medical History

Your past medical conditions, as well as family history and traits, can also dictate diastasis recti in men. The risk is higher in those with family members with the condition.

In addition to the noticeable bulge in the region referred to as the abs, there are other diastasis recti in men symptoms which include:

  • Constipation
  • Lower back pain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Discomfort in body movements

Treatment and Exercises for Diastasis Recti in Men

It is crucial to recognize the symptoms of diastasis recti in men as the thinning of the muscle tissue can promote a hernia from protruding nearby organs. Diastasis recti treatment for men includes several specialized exercises that target the muscles.

We have outlined the diastasis recti exercises for men below.

1. Exercise #1

Lying on the floor, bend both your legs and plant your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your lower stomach with your fingers pointing towards your legs. Breathing in and out at a steady pace, slowly lift your head and shoulders off the floor and press down on the abdomen. Repeat 10 times.

2. Exercise #2

In the same floor position as Exercise #1 with your legs bent and feet flat, tighten your stomach muscles as you lift your hips off the floor. Repeat 10 times.

3. Exercise #3

Remaining in the same position with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor, inhale deeply and upon exhaling, slowly straighten one leg as you slide it along the floor. Bring the leg slowly back to the starting position as you inhale. Repeat with your other leg, alternating 10 times.

4. Exercise #4

In a sitting position on the floor, place your hands on your abdomen and take small breaths as you slowly contract your abdominal muscles towards the spine. Hold for 30 seconds and keep your breathing controlled. Repeat 10 times throughout the day.

5. Exercise #5

Lying on the floor with your legs bent and your feet flat on the floor, slowly lift your head with your chin pointing towards your chest as you slowly contract your abdominal muscles towards the floor. Hold for two seconds. Repeat 10 times.

You should note that there are exercises to avoid with diastasis recti as they can damage the muscles. These include curl-ups and leg lifts, as well as any other abdominal exercise that places pressure on the muscles.

Some cases of diastasis recti in men may require a surgical procedure known as abdominoplasty.

Diastasis recti in men may not be a danger to one’s health but should be treated to avoid further damage to the abdominal muscles and possible hernia conditions. This separation of the rectus abdominis muscle can occur over time as the sufferer incorrectly performs strength training exercises, gains weight rapidly, or may even have a family history of the condition. The diastasis recti in men treatment directly focuses on strengthening the affected muscles.

Carteaux, C., “Diastasis Recti in Men,” Med Health Daily; http://www.medhealthdaily.com/diastasis-recti-in-men/, last accessed May 26, 2017
Williams, C., “Exercise Restrictions for Diastasis Recti in Men,” LIVESTRONG, September 17, 2011; http://www.livestrong.com/article/404959-exercise-restrictions-for-diastasis-recti-in-men/, last accessed May 26, 2017.

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