Is It Normal for Diastasis to Be Painful?

During the birth of my twins 2 years ago, I had a classic c section. I was told I had diastasis 5" from the top of my ribs all the way down. I've noticed I often get pain around the navel area. My stomach is swollen most days, and it feels like there is something pushing through where the abs are separated. Even to have a bowel movement I have to hold the muscles together and it causes pain. My dr. dismisses it and says talk to a ps. I'm 5'2", 120lb, so I guess it could be from extra weight.

Doctor Answers 7

Diastasis and pain

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It sounds like you may have a hernia. You should see a general surgeon. If your doctor dismisses your concerns again, find a new doctor. 



Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C) 

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Diastasis and Abdominal Pain

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Dear Krism1975,

I am sorry to hear about your abdominal pain but it is not likely due to your diastasis.  Most patients have little to no discomfort due to the separation of their rectus muscles however, given the description of your symptoms, it is possible that you have an abdominal hernia.  A hernia is a hole or a tear in the abdominal wall that can allow a piece of the intestines or other structures inside your abdominal cavity to push through the opening.  This can be very painful and even dangerous if the protruding structure gets trapped or stuck.  

A consultation with a general surgeon can help determine if your problems are due to a hernia and can determine the correct course of treatment.  Often an abdominoplasty can be performed at the same time as a hernia correction and also something to discuss with your plastic surgeon and general surgeon.  Please obtain your consultation as soon as possible.  Hope this helps. 

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Pain More Likely A Hernia Than A Diastasis

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Thank you for your question. I am very sorry to hear of your discomfort.

The description of your symptoms sounds much more like a hernia then a diastasis recti. Typically diastasis recti is not associated with pain and the symptoms you describe.

I suggest you see your primary care doctor and request that you have a consultation with a general surgeon to rule out an abdominal or periumbilical hernia.

If the surgeon does not find a hernia then it would be appropriate to see a plastic surgeon for an examination and a question of a diagnosis of diastases recti.

Good luck.

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Diastasis is not generally painful

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This sounds like a hernia. Definetely see a general surgeon. The adverse events of a hernia stuck in a tight hernia are disasterous!

Pain from a diastasis

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Your description of the discomfort is pretty typical when a patient has a wide diastasis. And could well be corrected witha tummy tuck and diastasis repair.  I agree with your doctor thata consult with a PS is a good idea.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Is It Normal for Diastasis to Be Painful?

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There are no absolutes, but typically a diastasis should not cause pain. There could well be a hernia present at the same time, and pain is much more common in that setting. 

It might make sense to begin  by seeing a plastic surgeon, who should be able to identify a hernia if present. If so  it may be something he/she would repair, or something that would be referred to a general surgeon. A tummy tuck and repair of diastasis could be done at the same time as the hernia repair. 

When you ready for an in person consultation, RealSelf has listings of surgeons in your area. You should consider cross referencing the listings from the The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery dot org). A listing in the ASPS website assures you that your surgeon is not only board certified,  but also is a member in good standing of the major plastic surgery organization in the U. S.
Thank your for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Abdominal pain

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Abdominal pain will not come from a diastasis, I assume that during the pregnancy you may have developed a umbilical hernia. Its a fairly simple diagnosis to make by a surgeon. 

Charles Virden, MD
Reno Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 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.