Diastasis Recti & the Pelvic Floor
Are you experiencing pelvic floor weakness or dysfunction and want answers?
You are in the right place. The Tummy Team specializes in the treatment of Functional Pelvic Floor Weakness in women including incontinence, prolapse, pain with intimacy and pelvic instablity.
We have effective comprehensive online rehab courses that specifically address all of these conditions and more. You can fix this in the privacy of your own home on your own schedule.
First, let’s define some important key terms:
Diastasis Recti: a separation of the abdominal muscles, where the midline connective tissue stretches leaving a weak and inactive internal core.
Functional Core Weakness: the inability of the muscles of the core to effectively function and support the body for everyday physical demands without pain or dysfunction
Functional Pelvic Floor Weakness: the inability of the muscles of the pelvic floor to effectively function and support the pelvic organs and pelvis for everyday physical demands without pain or dysfunction
What does it look/feel like?
Long-standing core weakness, poor postural alignment, difficult childbirth, trauma, and even improper exercise techniques can contribute to the dysfunction of the pelvic floor. Common signs of pelvic floor dysfunction are:
- Involuntarily “leaking” while laughing, sneezing, jumping, or other activity (known as stress incontinence)
- An inability to get to the bathroom in time (known as urge incontinence)
- A heaviness, bulging, or increase pressure in the vaginal canal (known as pelvic prolapse)
- Pelvic instability, which presents itself with pubic bone pain, tailbone pain, sacroiliac instability, or pubic symphysis disorder
- Constipation, or difficulty in emptying bowels
- Intimacy issues such as pain during or after intercourse, lack of sensation, or general disconnect
- Deep lower back pain, vaginal pain, or rectum pain
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, take some time to take our short quiz to determine how severe your core/pelvic floor issues are.
How is Core Strength and Pelvic Floor Function Connected?
Your core muscles support your organs, stabilize your spine, align your pelvis and connect your upper body and lower body. A strong core helps with postures, intestinal tract function, respiratory function, reproductive function and pain free full movement of the arms and legs. When the core is weak and inactive all of these areas are compromised. Diastasis Recti is a stretched separation of the abdominal wall that keeps the core from functioning optimally and can allow your organs to push forward, contributing to a bulging tummy and increase the risk of a hernia. In addition, this overall Functional Core Weakness also contributes to digestive tract issues, menstrual cycle issues, (prostate issues in men) and pelvic floor problems for men and women. As you can imagine, pregnant and postpartum women tend to be more susceptible to developing Diastasis Recti due to the extreme stretching of the abdominal wall combined with the effect of relaxin hormones on the connective tissue that occurs during pregnancy but any one can struggle with functional core or pelvic floor weakness. (See more about pregnancy and Diastasis Recti here).
The pelvic floor is a complex group of muscles interwoven between the bones of the pelvis to support your uterus, bladder, intestinal tract, and the sphincters that correlate with each organ. The function of the pelvic floor is directly related to the function of the core through a natural co-contraction and a mutual need for optimal pelvic alignment. When your core is elongated and engaged, the pelvic floor is also lifted and supported. The relationship between the two is so close that we refer to the pelvic floor as the “floor of the core.”
The pelvic floor muscles must be balanced and resilient to work in cooperation with other core muscles to properly support your organs. So if you are living with Diastasis Recti or Functional Core Weakness, the body collapses and lacks stability. That lack of stability combined with bulging increases the internal pressure on your organs. That pressure has to go someplace, and that place is often down against your pelvic floor, which leads to weakness, pain, and dysfunction.
A healthy and functionally strong pelvic floor requires more than just Kegels. The pelvic floor is not just designed to be a supportive and postural group of muscles. This group of muscles is also designed to be dynamic and multi-directional as we walk, bend, lift, jump, and move throughout the day. When done correctly, Kegels can play an important role in initially connecting to these deep muscles, but this one exercise does not represent the extensive needs of the whole pelvic floor. This is where Functional Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation comes in.
Take a moment to check yourself for a diastasis, and review some of our pelvic floor resources.
How do we fix this?
No, surgery is not the only answer or even the best answer in most cases!
Functional pelvic floor rehabilitation is a comprehensive approach to look at why your pelvic floor is not functioning well. Our rehab will systematically rebuild the daily strength and flexibility of the pelvic floor that’s required for a strong life. We begin with addressing your functional core strength, and then we strategically retrain your alignment and the internal muscles of your pelvic floor for real-life demands. You do not need to live with these frustrating symptoms.