A diastasis recti is equated by many sufferers with an abdominal wall hernia. However, we only speak of hernias when there are holes or tears in the abdominal wall. A diastasis recti, on the other hand, is “only” a gap that is caused by overstretching of the straight abdominal muscles. Similar to a hernia, however, in pronounced cases there may be saccular protrusion of the intestine and thus bowel movements visible from the outside.
So even though they are different diagnoses, diastases recti are often accompanied by hernias. For example, umbilical herniasor upper abdominal hernias, also called epigastric hernias, often occur in association with diastases recti. In some cases, there are also entire rows of small tears in the abdominal wall of the upper abdomen, which doctors then refer to as swiss cheese hernias.
The explanation for the common occurrence of diastases recti and abdominal wall hernias is obvious: Due to the gap between the straight abdominal muscles, the abdominal wall is weakened and correspondingly more susceptible to the occurrence of hernias under stress – for example, due to the additional pressure during pregnancy.
If the diastases recti is accompanied by abdominal wall hernias, these are treated together– in both surgery types: the major operation and in the minimally invasive MILOS operation. However, as a rule, the hernias occurring with diastases recti are comparatively small and do not cause abdominal wall dysfunction. Accordingly, the sole treatment of possible hernias without simultaneous treatment of diastases recti is not effective, at least in younger women.