Is It Possible That Increasing Core Strength is Causing my Protruding Abdomen? (photo)

I'm a fit 35 ,.5'6" 138 lbs. I crossfit regularly.Have 4 children, the last pregnancy was twins. I have a ton of stretchmarks and saggy skin, naturally. This year despite eating well and working out consistently, my abdomen sticks out further now than ever! If I hold it in, I look fine, I can see slight abdominal definition (hard to see under loose skin), but when I relax my tummy, I look 6 m pregnant. Is it possible that as my abs get stronger, they protrude more and would benefit from a tuck?

Doctor Answers (13)

Exercise doesn't repair muscle separation after pregnancy

+4

When the rectus muscles in the front of the abdomen are pushed apart from pregnancy, it is called a diastasis and exercise cannot improve it much. that is because the muscles contract vertically, but the separation is horizontal. It is routinely repaired as part of a tummy tuck. Core strengthening will not make it better or worse.


Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Muscle plication to repair protruding upper abdomen.

+3

Thank you for the question. 

Congratulations on being fit! The most likely reason for your protruding upper abdomen is the separation of your recti muscles as a result of your 4 pregnancies. 

The more you work out the more they tend to separate. You would highly benefit from plication (tightening) of the muscles which can be done during the tummy tuck procedure. 

Best of luck...

 

 

Dana Khuthaila, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Basically, yes.

+3

An abdominoplasty would help both the sagging skin as well as the bulging contour. It would need to be a full operation rather than a mini. You will be surprised just how much stronger you will be after the repair. If you have back pain and stress incontinence as well these will both improve on closure of your rectus separation. It will be the best thing you have ever done.

Alastair Taylor, MBBS, FRACS
Canberra Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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Is It Possible That Increasing Core Strength is Causing my Protruding Abdomen?

+2

Not likely. Rather, the cause is the separation of the rectus muscles caused by the pregnancy, particularly the twin pregnancy. 

Yes, you would have great benefit from a Tummy Tuck in terms of correcting the muscle separation, and removing the excess skin. Congratulations on your perseverance.

All the best. . 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
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Protruding Abdomen Related to Increasing Core Strength?

+2

Thank you for the question and pictures.  You should be proud of what you have accomplished through healthy diet and exercise, after several pregnancies, especially a twin pregnancy.

No, increasing core strength is not  increasing the “protuberance” of your abdominal wall.  This protuberance, as you know, is related to separation of the abdominal wall muscles (diastasis recti) that occur during pregnancy, especially twin gestation.

 At some point, you may be an excellent candidate for tummy tuck surgery,  during which the rectus muscles are re-approximated in the midline.  You may find the attached link helpful to as you learn more about this procedure.

 I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 793 reviews

Protruding tummy

+2

Thanks for your photos... quite a change when you relax your tummy.  Surgery can correct this but consider having plication of your muscles as close to anatomic as possible instead of the traditional  midline plication that would likely make the bottom of your belly button never see light again.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Abdominal strengthening exercises cannot correct abdominal wall laxity after pregnancy.

+2

The connective tissue that houses the abdominal musculature stretched out in some women after pregnancy. There's nothing wrong with the muscle. Exercise will not repair attenuated fascia.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Is It Possible That Increasing Core Strength is Causing my Protruding Abdomen?

+2

        A tummy tuck will address the loose skin and improve the abdominal wall integrity.  Diastasis can get worse with time   Find a plastic surgeon with ELITE credentials who performs hundreds of tummy tucks and body contouring procedures each year.  Then look at the plastic surgeon's website before and after photo galleries to get a sense of who can deliver the results.  Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 238 reviews

Is It Possible That Increasing Core Strength is Causing my Protruding Abdomen?

+2

Hello

Increasing your core strength will not cause your abdomen to protrude. The common causes of protrusion of abdomen are increase in the intra abdominal contents such as visceral fat deposits, a hernia where your abdominal contents such as intestines bulge forward through weakness in your absominal wall ( six pack muscle layer) and a very lax muscle layer with separation that is unable to hold back any of the abdominal contents.

It it unlikely you will have a lot of intra abdominal fat as you are quite fit. See a Plastic Surgeon who can examine you to see if you have a hernia or separation of the rectus muscle. Both of these can be fixed during a tummy tuck with excellent results.

Hope this helps

Naveen Somia, MBBS, PhD, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Wide separation between the rectus muscles of the anterior abdomen

+2

You most likely have a wide diastasis recti or separation between the two paired rectus muscles.  With exercise you are able to tighten the muscles but once the space between the muscles is stretched they can not get better on their own.  An abdominoplasty would address this problem, reconstruct your anterior abdominal wall and really so off the results of your exercise routine.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.