Diastasis Recti in Men

If you are experiencing difficulty in using your core muscles, it may cause you to have trouble making routine movements like sitting up, carrying things, stooping and bending. You may wake up in the morning with back pain that continues through your day. Your body is trying to tell you something, but what does it mean?

As you research your symptoms, you may come across information about diastasis recti in men.

What is Diastasis Recti?

If you’ve never heard of this disease, you’re not the only one. It is commonly mis-diagnosed by even experienced healthcare providers. The lack of muscle tone and tummy bulge may be dismissed as weight gain.

This is a more common problem for women who have given birth, but it can indeed occur in men, and is generally caused and made worse by improper lifting or workouts. Professional athletes are particularly susceptible.

Diastasis recti in men or women occurs when the muscles of the abdomen separate. This creates a gap of about an inch or more between the muscles. To put it more succinctly, it is a thinning and stretching of abdominal tissues.

If you don’t address the issue, it can last for years. It means that your abdominal muscles are not tightening to their proper position. You can spot the symptoms easily once you know what you’re looking for, but they are also easily dismissed.

Symptoms of Diastasis Recti in Men

The gap that exists between both sides of your rectus abdominis muscle is the diastasis recti. The condition is certainly not fatal, but it can be quite uncomfortable. Read on to learn about the symptoms to look for.

Diastasis recti appears like a ridge that runs from your navel to the bottom of your breastbone.

Other symptoms include:

  • Lower back pain
  • Leaking of urine
  • Constipation
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble moving around

If you don’t treat this disorder, the organs can break through the surrounding tissue, causing a hernia.

What are the Causes of Diastasis Recti in Men?

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Physicians can diagnose infants with diastasis recti because of incomplete development in the surrounding muscle. When pregnant women develop the condition, it is due to the stretching of the muscle when their uterus grows. But what causes the disease to occur in men?

  • Medical History

If your parents suffered from this health problem, you may, as well.

  • Extra Weight

If you gain weight quickly, this places more pressure on your abdomen. This can cause muscle separation. Men tend to gain weight in front rather than along the sides, like women do.

  • Improperly Performed Exercises

If you have been doing vigorous sit-ups or weight lifting, without proper body position, this can lead to diastasis.

Dealing with Diastasis Recti in Men

Since this disorder causes so much discomfort, you’ll be happy to know that there are treatments. If you strengthen the muscles involved in your diastasis, it will be more difficult for it to divide.

Try these exercises for relief.

Exercise 1

  • Lie flat on the floor, feet flat and knees bent.
  • Lift your hips and tighten your lower abdomen muscles.
  • Repeat 10 times or as directed by your physician.

Exercise 2

  • Lie on the floor, both feet flat and legs bent.
  • Pointing your fingers down, place both hands on your lower stomach.
  • Breathe steadily in and out.
  • Lift your shoulders and head off the ground slowly.
  • Press your fingers and hands on your lower abdomen.
  • Return to lying position.

Exercise 3

  • Lie down, feet flat on the floor and knees bent.
  • Slowly lift your head and point your chin toward your chest.
  • Contract your abdomen slowly towards the floor.
  • Hold the abdomen there for about two seconds.
  • Lower your head to its original position. Hold it there for two seconds.
  • Repeat 10 times.

Exercise 4

  • Sit on your floor with hands on your abdomen.
  • Contract your abdominal muscles slowly, while taking small breaths, pulling the muscles toward your spine.
  • Hold that position for about 30 seconds, still breathing in small breaths.
  • Repeat 10 times a day.

Exercise 5

  • Lie on the floor, feet flat and knees bent.
  • Exhale and straighten one leg out, sliding it down to the floor.
  • Straighten that leg as far as you can.
  • Inhale and bring your leg back to the starting position.
  • Repeat the exercise with your other leg.


You can also treat diastasis recti in men by bracing your abdomen and lower back. This supports you as you start your rehabilitative exercise. It positions your midsection the right way.


In extreme cases, this disorder may require surgery. The procedure is known as abdominoplasty. In this medical procedure, the fibrous line in your abdominal wall will be folded and then sutured together.

The skin in the area will be lifted in the front of your body, with the stomach muscles being repaired and then tightened. This surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes about an hour and a half.