Is my diastasis recti the cause of my issues, how can it be fixed and will insurance cover it? (photos)

I developed diastasis recti after my first pregnancy 9 years ago. After 3 pregnancies, one being a multiple birth, my issue has gone from a small issue to my muscles being 2 inches apart. Over the course of the nine years I have also had severe stomach issues that mimic IBS-C. I have literally been living on laxatives and gas relief medicine for the last 9 years. I have altered my diet and tried everything I can think of to help. Any advice is appreciated!

Doctor Answers 7

Diastasis Recti and IBS

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In general, diastasis Recti itself does not cause pain. However, large diastasis of your rectus muscles implies that you have lost your core strength and support. That can cause back pain. It can also cause constipation as it is difficult to strain or help promote a bowel movement. 

Diastasis closure may help with your symptoms. That says, it is nearly impossible to get insurance to cover the cost. 

Beverly Hills General Surgeon

Is my diastasis recti the cause of my issues, how can it be fixed and will insurance cover it?

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Diastasis recti has no cause-and-effect relationship with irritable bowel/colitis symptoms. Your pregnancies did indeed cause or worsen your diastasis, but insurance does not cover this, as your IBS-C symptoms will not likely change, repair or not. Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) is universally considered elective and cosmetic in nature, and therefore NOT covered by any insurance. If you have a true symptomatic hernia causing obstructive symptoms, insurance would cover hernia repair, NOT tummy tuck, so you would still be required to self-pay for the cosmetic tummy tuck portion of the procedure, including the operating room and anesthesia costs associated with the cosmetic portion of the surgery, so this is no "savings" either.

I would suggest losing weight before considering tummy tuck, as there is a higher likelihood of complications or muscle repair breakdown in patients with substantial visceral fat. Simply tightening the abdominal muscles will not flatten your profile as the intra-abdominal contents will push against and disrupt the muscle repair. Losing weight FIRST will lead to the best outcome and much lower risk of complications.Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Is my diastasis recti the cause of my issues, how can it be fixed and will insurance cover it?

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Thank you for sharing your question and photographs.  I can see your areas of concern and sorry to hear of your IBS-like symptoms.  Diastasis is common after pregnancy but repair of it is not covered by insurance as it is not deemed medically necessary and can not be assumed to be the cause of your IBS.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Is my diastasis recti the cause of my issues, how can it be fixed and will insurance cover it?

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Diastasis is not covered by insurance anymore and hasn't been for many years by most insurance companies. IBS has no cause and effect link with diastasis and your IBS will probably not improve or worsen after a tummy tuck.The good news is that a tummy tuck will greatly improve the appearance and flatness of your abdomen. Good luck.

Tummy Tuck - Insurance Coverage?

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Thank you for your question. Insurance companies typically view rectus diastasis repair as not medically necessary. Therefore, it is not a covered procedure. Your GI symptoms are likely not a result of your muscle separation. You appear to be an excellent candidate for a tummy tuck with muscle repair. Please see a board certified plastic surgeon for an in-person examination.  Hope this helps!

Diastasis does not cause IBS and repair is not covered by insurance

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Thank you for your question and photographs. Diastasis recti is typically caused by pregnancy but does not cause gastrointestinal symptoms and the repair, typically done at the time of a tummy tuck, is not covered by insurance. If you primary care doctor has not been able to diagnose your condition, you should see a gastroenterologist. In the mean time, I suggest that you try to go gluten free as gluten is a frequent cause of GI symptoms.  It is a much healthier diet and you will probably lose weight on it. I suggest that you lose weight, maybe 25-30 pounds before getting a tummy tuck and diastasis repair. Be sure to see an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon. 

James McMahan, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 40 reviews


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muscle Diastasis is not typically covered by insurance and is unlikely to be contributing to your bowel symptoms   You do appear to be a good candidate for an abdominoplasty

David R. Alfonso, MD, FACS
Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 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.