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Embarrassing Bodies, 9:00pm Thursday 24th July 2014 on Channel 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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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 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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I had my first child in August 2008 (7lb 10oz)and then I had twins in April 2010 and as a result I have split stomach muscles, and an umbilical hernia. They weighed over 7lbs each! My gap is over 10 fingers wide and I look 7-8 months pregnant. The NHS have refused to operate, even through it is causing me so many problems. It is coming between me and my husband as I can't stand the thought of him seeing me naked as I also have a lot of saggy skin from the Twin pregnancy too. I can't afford to go private. Words can not describe how much I hate my body. I got upset watching this episode as I just want to be fixed and feel normal again just like Helen in the Show.





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I'm really sorry to hear about what you're going through. You may well already have tried all avenues but do try and try again. You can request to see a different GP and ask to be refered to an NHS surgeon for a one off appt just to talk things through. Say how much it affects your day to day functioning (ie back ache, difficulty looking after your kids, playing with them, getting up from lying down etc) They may want to rule out the possibility of you having a abdominal wall hernia. If you are able to see a NHS surgeon but s/he says there may be funding issues then persuade your GP to apply for funding anyway. If it is rejected by the PCT/Trust then you can appeal and you will have a chance to put your case forward. I wish you lots of luck and I'll keep my fingers crossed for you that in time the NHS will agree to do the surgery for you. With very best wishes.

This is me. I am currently pregnant with my third child and have had split stomach muscles since the birth of my first child 4 years ago. After my second baby it became worse and i mentioned to my gp who just said to do situps! This is so hard when half your insides bulge out everytime you try. I have mentioned this to my midwife who has recommended that i have a physio referal once i ve had this baby. Before i became pregnant people would ask when are you due can't be long now! The embarrasment is terrible, i can't wear sexy knickers any more as my wobbly tummy hangs (unevenly due to 2 prior sections)over the top. I have to wear trousers at least two sizes bigger than i am to accomodate the tummy. Seeing this episode has given me some hope that there is an answer to my problem but i fear asking for this surgery as the GP always seems reluctant to do anything and basically tells me that it's just part and parcel of having babies and tuck the overhang in your knickers! I would gladly have a bit of baby tummy as i am a mummy but to look constantly pregnant is a joke





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It looks like no one else has asked this question, so please fill in the rest of your details below.





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