The difference between diastasis recti and a hernia and what that means for healing your core can be confusing and sometimes even downright scary.
If it's a hernia, what if you do the wrong thing and make it worse?
Let's take the fear out of having a hernia and diastasis and get you feeling confident about moving your body again. Learn the
In this blog I'm going to break down the difference between diastasis recti and a hernia and talk about the 2 types of hernias you can have in your abdominals.
I’ll also cover:
If a diastasis can cause a hernia
How you can tell if you have a hernia when you have a diastasis.
Exercise and what to focus on if you have diastasis and hernia.
Diastasis Recti and Hernia - what’s the difference?
Diastasis recti is when you have a thinning of the connective tissue (called the Linea Alba) between your rectus abdominis, or your six pack muscles.
If you picture chewing gum that's been stretched out, those tissues have been stretched and thinned like chewing gum, to the point where they soft , saggy and can't hold any tension.
This gives you problems when it comes to controlling your core pressure..
The difference with a hernia is if you take that same chewing gum, and you make a hole or tear it as you stretch out. It's an actual hole in your connective tissue.
When this happens it means that internal tissues can start to be pushed out through that hole when your core pressure increases. This is what creates a lump in your stomach.
There's two different types of hernia and your abdominal area to watch out for.
The first is an Umbilical hernia.
This is centered around your belly button or your navel, as it's a natural weak point in your connective tissue in your core.
If your belly button tends to poke out all the time ( a permanent "outie") then there could be a hernia in that area.
The other type is what we call a Epigastric hernia and that's typically found in your upper abs, somewhere between the bottom of your breastbone and above your belly button.
If you suspect you have a hernia it's very important that you get a doctor to check it, because there is a risk that the hernia can become strangulated and this can cause some serious health issues
Your doctor will tell you if your hernia is stable or not, which means that it's not getting any worse.
Can diastasis cause a hernia?
Diastasis is the thinning and the stretching of the connective tissues and in some people those weakened areas can sometimes develop into a hernia.
(If you needed more motivation to stop pushing out onto your diastasis, this it it.)
How can you tell if you have a hernia if you have diastasis recti?
The easiest answer is to palpate your stomach. Diastasis isn’t painful if you gently press on it where as a hernia can feel tender or painful.
The best way to test if you aren’t sure is to test when you are lying down. This reduces your core pressure and a diastasis will feel softer when you are relaxed.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor, the same as when you test for diastasis.
When your core is relaxed, if you can feel a lump, then that may be a hernia.
If you only feel like you get a bulge or something pushing out when you lift your chin up, then that might be just the pressure coming through from your diastasis rather than a hernia.
Again if you aren't sure get a doctor to check for you.
What about exercising with diastasis and a hernia?
The good news is that if your hernia is stable, then there’s no need to avoid strengthening your core and working on healing your diastasis.
Keeping control of your core pressure and not pushing out on your weakened tissues (both your Linea alba and the hernia) is the most important thing during exercise.
In fact all of the exercises you use to re-learn how to control your core pressure will be beneficial and help you to avoid putting stress on your hernia.
I should also point out that you need to pay extra attention to your everyday movement patterns when you have a hernia, as you are that much more vulnerable to poor pressure management with a hole in your connective tissue.
In the same way that you want to avoid hunching over when you wash the dishes or leaning into one hip when you carry the washing basket up the stairs with a diastasis, you need to be extra aware of your alignment and loading patterns when you have a hernia.
Need help figuring out what to avoid and how to control your core pressure in your everyday movement patterns?
Snap up my free guide (it'll help you a lot if you have a hernia )