How To Tell If You Have Diastasis Recti Or A Hernia

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If you have had one or more children, there’s a fairly good chance you have heard of diastasis recti and hernias. These conditions are some of the most common side effects of pregnancy, and it can often be confusing to know which one is causing your symptoms. In fact, many women develop both diastasis recti and hernia as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Award-winning plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Eagan is highly experienced in the diagnosis and repair of these conditions and takes great pride in helping women restore their pre-pregnancy bodies and regain the confidence they deserve. Read on to learn more about the differences between diastasis recti and hernia and how they can be corrected by our expert team at New Orleans Plastic Surgery.

Why do I still look like I’m pregnant?

One of the most common complaints by women after having children and losing their baby weight is that they still look several months pregnant. In many cases, this is the result of a condition known as diastasis recti. Technically speaking, diastasis recti is a weakening of the connective tissue in the abdominal wall caused by excessive stretching of the fascia. This is a common occurrence during pregnancy, as the body expands to accommodate the growing uterus. After giving birth, the separation in the midline – between the right and left sides of the abdominal wall – often remains, resulting in a pooch or pouch-like appearance in the lower abdomen.

How can I tell if I have diastasis recti?

In addition to the classic tummy pooch, diastasis recti can often be identified by the presence of a gap or trench in the midline of the abdominal wall. A common test for determining whether you may have diastasis recti is to lie on your back with three fingers pressed against your abs, near your belly button. Next, raise your upper body as if performing a sit-up or crunch. If the gap widens, allowing your fingers to sink into the space, you may have diastasis recti.

In some women, however, diastasis recti may present more as a bulge, leading patients to mistake the condition for a hernia.

What is a hernia?

A hernia is the protrusion of the bowel or other material through a weakened or damaged area of the muscle wall. There are a number of different types of hernias, including:

  • Umbilical
  • Ventral
  • Abdominal
  • Hiatal
  • Inguinal

While some people are born with certain kinds of hernias, others develop a hernia as a result of strain, injury, pregnancy, obesity, or another condition.

What does a hernia look like?

Most often, hernias produce a visible, round bulge. Depending on the type of hernia and its severity, it may be accompanied by pain, tenderness, nausea, or other symptoms. However, some patients have no symptoms associated with their hernias.

Can you have diastasis recti and hernia at the same time?

Yes, many women develop both diastasis recti and a hernia during or after pregnancy. Fortunately, both conditions can often be corrected during a single tummy tuck – or abdominoplasty - procedure.

During tummy tuck surgery in New Orleans, Dr. Eagan will place a lengthy incision on the patient’s lower abdomen, allowing her to access the internal layers of tissue and muscle. By bringing the muscles back together and reinforcing them with sutures, diastasis recti can be improved or even reversed. If a hernia is present, the protruding material can be replaced in its appropriate position. Repair of the damaged area will help to prevent the recurrence of the hernia. Additionally, tummy tuck surgery may involve removing stubborn fat, excising loose skin, and sculpting a slim, firm, more natural-looking new midsection. Thanks to the exceptional cosmetic and functional enhancements that can be made with tummy tuck surgery, it’s no surprise that it continues to be one of the most popular post-pregnancy procedures performed year after year.

Get rid of your mom pooch with diastasis recti/hernia repair in New Orleans, LA

Despite the many joys of motherhood, many women are left feeling self-conscious and unhappy with the physical side effects of pregnancy and breastfeeding. The caring team at New Orleans Plastic Surgery believes every woman deserves to look and feel her best and is dedicated to providing the most advanced body contouring procedures available today. To learn more about the exciting benefits of tummy tuck surgery, including how it can help to repair diastasis recti and hernia, call us to schedule your private consultation with distinguished plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Eagan today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.