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Embarrassing Bodies, 12:15am Tuesday 4th November 2014 on More 4. Catch up for free on 4oD »

Episode 5 - Stockton

Muscle Divarication

35 year old Helen visits the clinic to see Dr Dawn about her enlarged stomach, which first appeared after she had a baby 21 months ago. Helen’s bowel is so close to the surface of her skin that she can see her food digesting. Dr Dawn diagnoses a muscle divarication, meaning her stomach muscles have split and not healed after pregnancy. Dr Dawn refers her to a plastic surgeon to repair the damaged muscle. When Helen returns to the clinic following the procedure she tells Dr Dawn she no longer has the back pain she used to, and she is happier with her appearance.

The EB team would like to thank:

Mr David Floyd
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Spire Bushey Hospital
www.spirehealthcare.com/bushey

Channel 4 is not responsible for the content of external websites

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Wow. I feel like I wrote some of your comments, reading these. I too thought I was 4 months pregnant and feel very self conscious about how I look. I'm having surgery in mid November and very nervous, but this episode was great to see. I realize this is not life threatening, but it's not fun all the same! Good luck everyone!





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I too have severe diastasis recti , after my first son who weighed 11lb 4 oz 6 years ago my dr went undiagnosed my second weighed 10lbs and both were c section. I have done Pilates, physiotherapy and dieting and still my stomach bulges massively so I look hugely pregnant. So utterly depressing and have been repeatedly back to my doctors to get help. I have back pain, difficulty digesting, bowel trouble and body image problems.





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Hi I have been suffering from divaraction of the recti for about 6 years it's about as wide as my hand (4-5 fingers). I look about 6 mths pregnant and the backaches and acid reflux are a nightmare. I have tried all the techniques from Pilates to the tupler technique. My belly button has become an outtie but doctors say no hernia so not entitled to treatment on the Nhs. Has anyone had their divaraction repaired despite having no hernia? Should I keep fighting for treatment or is this a losing battle? I'm so depressed and in constant pain. I have had 4 babies 2 over 8lbs and 2 over 9lbs so you can imagine my tummy is a right old state -_-





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Hi Amy Ive had problems with divaraction of the recti for about the same length of time as you , ive had numerous operations trying to correct this but to still no avail !including having rectus plications and even having mesh put in !!! my surgeon said ive got a very weak abdomainal wall and thts why none of my operations have worked and what makes it worse is because im so slim my stomach really protrudes making me look pregnant... im at my wits end as theres nothing more that can be done and its something i just have to live with but its so embarrasing i cannot wear tight tops or anything ...

I'm sorry to hear your having a rough time over it and so for surgery has failed. Usually mesh is the last option so muscles must be very weak. I pray you find someone who can help as I totally understand the physical and emotional effects it has on some one. I am scheduled for a muscle repair (took out a loan to go private) and pray this works.

Hi I am a 66 year old male and have been diagnosed with divarication - is this unusual? To treat or not to treat seems to be the big question





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I am a 63 year old guy. I was very fit until this started. I have the same issue. I am having more and more pain. I don't understand why surgery is 'to be avoided', whilst there are no other options. Any advice???

Its been like 5mths now and I hv a bulge in stomach just above my umbiclical cord. its becoming very obvious wen i crouch. no pain. Seen a doctor and was told it was hernia but soon aft a CT Scan i was told there is no mass, lesion or lump in my abdomen. I am 47 female with end stage heart failure,diabetic,PVD and had anAICD implant done 4 yrs ago. The doctor cfmd no hernia and now they feel that i shud leave it as i am in the high risk. i am on warfarin for life and on beta blockers. Wat am i to do now, worried and i am depressed. Pls advice.....





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Hi I have a very bad divarication of the rectus muscles all the way from my belly button all the way up i keep getting a lot of pain in my ribs is the normal. I have been to see a consultant but he says if he won the lott he would not have it done. Many thanks for any help you could give me





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Hi. I had twins ten years ago - they were 7 pound each and I had my son two years ago who was 9 pound. I am five foot and very small framed. i have just discovered a particular exercise that a pilates teacher showed me. I wish I had found it ten years ago. It has dramatically changed my tummy. You can actually feel the gap closing but you hae to do it pretty much every day forever otherwise it starts opening again. You cant do a lot of ab exercised because it makes it worse. i would seriously advise a one to one session with a really good pilates teacher or go to a good small class and make sure you tell the teacher first. Good luck.





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Can you say what the exercise was that helped you so much? thanks Kristina

Hi kristina, well i am a bit reluctant to say as i don't want to be irresponsible and it is quite hard to explain. Also precision is really important. i strongly advise you go to physio or a really good pilates teacher. Basically they are kind of a modified roll down but before you do the exercises you lie on your back with your legs bend and with your fingers squeeze your abdominals - it really is one you have to be taught i can't really explain it. whereabouts in the country are you? I would happily send you info about where i went or send you a video ? Hope this helps please get in touch if you need anymore info? Thanks

I had a very large belly but then I've been doing specific exercises for my diastasis recti (separation of stomach muscles). Type in diastasisrehab into Google and you should find a technique which has been tailored specifically for separated muscles. I have gone down 4 and a half inches so far. Still have 2 inches to go. I didn't want more surgery after my section so this option was cheaper and safer. I'm not in my maternity jeans any more so something is working!





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I can relate to this im 23 had my daughter 4yrs ago and ive tried exercise,diets and nothing i look 4/5 months pregnant :( i get constant back aches my stomach feels so tight etc i feel like im pregnant(but im not!) Its getting me so down with confidence everytime i look in the mirror and just carnt wear nice clothing, Dont even like my partner seeing my belly! Any1 have any suggestions im running outta ideas and my confidence is getting lower n lower everyday :(





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Look up tummytribe, it's working for me.

I am 22 and had my first child wen i was 16 he weighed ten pound just under two years after i had twins 8,2 and 5,15 and my mucsles seperated ive given it three years to get my stomach back together from dieting excercisin everything and its still the same ive been single for nearly three years because i wnt let a man get close to me im suffering from depression my back is agony everyday and i dont know wat to do anymore... Please help :-(





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