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Prevalence, Potential Risk Factors, Sequelae of Diastasis Recti Abdominis and The Treatment

      Objectives

      Diastasis recti abdominis (DRA) is a separation of the rectus abdominis muscles along the linea alba, which onsets during the third trimester of pregnancy. There is scant knowledge on prevalence, risk factors, sequelae and treatment of this condition. The aim of this partly cross-sectional and partly clinical study was to assign the postpartum prevalence of DRA in our narrower environment, and the possible risk factors, to investigate it’s association with low back pain, urinary incontinence and decreased quality of life and the potential treatment methods.

      Methods

      200 women’s interrectus distance (IRD) was measured with digital caliper. They filled out a self-made diastasis recti questionnaire, the SF-36, the Modified Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire and the ICIQ - Urinary Incontinence SF questionnaire. Six persons received 24 visits over a 3-months course of treatment, where the training of the transverse abdominis muscle was stressed. Pearson product moment correlations, ANOVAs and paired sample t-tests were used to examine relationship. P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

      Results

      The prevalence of DRA in our population was 46.5%. There was a measurable difference between the DRA and age (p=0.099), BMI (p=0.129), number of pregnancies (p=0.126), and type of delivery (p=0.058). The results between the number of deliveries and the IRD were significant (p<0.001). We found a significant difference in quality of life (p=0.017), in presence of low back pain (p=0.039) and urinary incontinence (p=0.028) between the normal and the DRA group. After the three month treatment we measured a significant (p=0.028) smaller interrectus distance at the patients.

      Conclusions

      Almost every second women are affected by diastasis recti. This condition predisposes on low back pain and urinary incontinence, therefore on a decreased quality of life. For that very reason it would be necessary to open the women’s eyes to the benefits of physiotherapy.