Could I Have Diastasis Recti Even if I've Never Been Pregnant?

I am 22 and have never had a child. I've been overweight almost my entire life. I weighed 270 in 6th gr. I am now 5'11 weighing about 230. I began a work out program and lost weight and got down to 190. I gained much of the weight back. As far back as I can remember I've had a pocket of skin/fat I call a "front butt" below my belly button. this fat won't go away even when I was 190. It hangs and almost makes an upside down m. What is this? Just abnormal fat deposit or diastasis recti?

Doctor Answers 5

Could I Have Diastasis Recti Even if I've Never Been Pregnant?

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Yes, diastasis recti (separation of the "six-pack" rectus abdominis muscles) is possible without previous pregnancy.  Diastasis recti is not uncommon with obesity, and we see it in male patients as well as female patients.  However, your description of a pocket of skin/fat below the umbilicus is most likely a separate issue from rectus diastasis.  I would recommend consulting with a plastic surgeon who will be able to assess your particular situation to determine whether rectus diastasis repair, tummy tuck, liposuction, or a combination of these procedures is the best option for you.

Ziyad Hammoudeh, MD


Marina Del Rey General Surgeon

Diastasis recti

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You certainly can have weakeness of the muscles which could be secondary to the fatty component that was within the intraperitoneal space( like having a baby).  It's possible that when the weight came off the muscles were stretched and did not rebound.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Abdominal panniculus?

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Yes, you can have diastasis recti without ever having been pregnant. But what you describe sounds more like an abdominal panniculus. See a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area for an evaluation and recommendations to see if you are a candidate for a functional panniculectomy. This may help you be able to exercise more easily and keep the weight off. I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 221 reviews

Diastasis Recti

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What you describe does not sound like Diastasis recti although you can have that condition with chronic intra abdominal fat excess. 

For some reason there are patients who have the excess fat and skin of the lower belly that will not respond to diet and exercise and needs surgical attention through liposuction or tummy tuck.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Diastasis Recti?

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Thank you for the question.

Given your history of significant weight loss it is very possible that you have a diastasis recti present.  This refers simply to relative separation of the abdominal wall muscles from the midline. Also, given the degree of weight loss you have achieved some  redundant skin/adipose tissue of the lower abdominal wall is to be expected.

At some point, preferably after completing pregnancies and achieving a long-term stable way, tummy tuck surgery may be very helpful.

At that point, consultation with well experienced board certified plastic surgeons should be considered.

Best wishes.

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.