Could I Have a Diastasis Recti? (Male)

I am 6'0 205lbs 8% BF and follow a very strict bodybuilding diet and training program. 2 weeks ago I threw up multiple times from some bad food. After the last bout of vomiting I noticed a very small hard "lump" just above my belly button. No pain really just slightly tender. Thought epigastric hernia but have seen 5 doctors, a general surgeon and had a CT scan all say not a hernia. Semi sore abdomen, lower back and noticed a new slight gap between upper two abs am i looking at surgery?

Doctor Answers 6

Hernia or Diastasis Recti?

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I have seen a few abdominal wall lumps, usually around the belly button, which were said not to be hernias, came up suddenly and never really caused any long term problems.  I am sure you, as a body builder, are concerned about your normal aggressive physical activity and whether this could lead to a true hernia or abdominal wall tear, or whatever. 


I would return to see the most accommodating of the 5 surgeons you have seen and ask for a MRI.  This would be definitive.  Then you will know, and then you and your surgeon will know what to do.

Hernia or diastasis in male patient

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a small tear or separation of the muscles is possible,,   an epipolcele is a variation of small hernia that only allows fat through a small opening near the umbilicus..    if you can still feel a weakness or space after about 6 weeks. and you have pain ,   surgical correction may be an option

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Could I Have a Diastasis Recti? (Male)

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Sounds like you have researched your issue, scanned it, poked it and still you are not sure if it is anything. Best to immediately see a doctor if it returns so than an in person examination will demonstrate the problem otherwise over the internet not really able to diagnose

Rectus Diastasis and Tummy Tuck

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Yes, there is a certain subset of the population that is genetically prone to Rectus Diastasis. Chronic straining from body building can weaken the casing of the rectus abdominis muscles and lead to Rectus Diastasis over time.

I don't know if you have it or not. Also, I don't know if any of the 5 doctors that you saw are plastic surgeons. Does the bulge persist? Is it reproducible with staining?

I recommend you see a board certified plastic surgeon for an evaluation and examination.  If you don't have a true hernia, then surgery would be optional and depend largely on your symptoms and how much it is bothering you.

If you have true anatomical Diastasis Recti, it will not get better with exercise/physical therapy alone.  Surgery will usually indicated to correct it.

An incarcerated (stuck) hernia with pain is a surgical emergency. If this happens, go to your doctor's office or the emergency department immediately.

I hope this helps.

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

Tummy Tuck - Could I Have a Diastasis Recti? (Male)

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You could, but I think it's unlikely.

Of course, anything's possible.  My first thought would have been a hernia, but it sounds like that's been ruled out.  A true diastasis recti usually occurs as a result of pregnancy, weight gain/loss, or both.  It does not typically result from a cough or vomiting...though, again, anything's possible.

The question, though, is what you would do about it.  Is it enough of a deformity to warrant a surgical incision - possibly a long one - that will allow access to place a few sutures?  And will those sutures correct the problem?

No way to know without being able to examine you in person, and going through all the options.

My sense is that it's unlikely to be a diastasis that can be repaired with any of the traditional techniques, but this is something you'll have to figure out with surgeons who can examine you.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E


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Thanks for the question.

Unfortunately, without direct examination, it is not possible to make a diagnosis and/or treatment plan. However, based on your history and description of symptoms the differential diagnosis includes  hernia, abdominal wall weakness (but not true hernia), and/or hematoma.

I think the best course of action for now,  since you've been seen by physicians already,  is to allow for inflammation to subside and revisit a well experienced  board-certified general or plastic surgeon in a few months.

I hope this helps.


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.