Let’s face it, as women, we are obsessed with our stomachs and can be envious when we see a woman wearing a tight-fitting dress that hangs perfectly over her flat tight, and narrow midsection.
The female stomach has to be as flat as possible with a waistline that is thin, with no disgraceful flab or mush. We see all over the fashion world and its models.
These magazines and commercials are the basis of systematic brainwashing that leads us down the road of hating our bodies. I’ve been there, who hasn’t?
Who can ever live up to the models in magazines with their photoshopped perfectionism? It’s a standard no one can nor should meet.
The truth is that many of us judge ourselves for not having a perfectly flat and well-defined mid-section. We might look pregnant, have a pouch, or our stomachs have never met our expectations no matter how many crunches or Peleton sessions we do.
A flat belly is a prize to have, and women will stop at anything to get one. Fad diets, personal trainers, and even expensive cellulite spa treatments.
The truth is that millions of women who have a “pouch” are suffering from a little-known medical condition called Diastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) also known as the “Mummy Tummy.”
What is a DRA and how can you fix it so you can lose the flabby stomach?
Ddiastasis Recti Abdominis (DRA) or mummy tummy affects 52% of pregnant women and it does not spontaneously heal after giving birth. Menopausal and older women who lack abdominal tone, or have a swayback posture are also at risk for a DRA. Women who sit in poor posture as well as those women who bend from the waist to pick up their grandkids or kids are at risk as well. When it comes to having a flat and tone tummy and healing a DRA posture, body mechanics, nutrition, and core exercises all count.
A bulge in the middle of your stomach is the first thing that women noticed and it’s a tell-tell sign of a DRA. This bulge (aka stomach pooch), can contribute to a slew of female problems
In my 17 years of clinical experience, DRA is also commonly present in women who suffered from pelvic and bladder issues. Most women who suffer from leaking, pelvic organ prolapse, back pain, constipation, or sexual pain typically also have a DRA.
The truth is that DRA is often overlooked and ignored in women with pelvic floor dysfunction and back issues
As a physical therapist and expert in pelvic floor health, I believe that all “dis-ease” is multi-factorial and involves multiple systems, including the spirit and soul. There is no one size fits all medicine or healing. So when I can across an exercise program, fad, gimmick, or gadget that promises to heal DRA it makes my blood because they infected women with hopelessness when they don’t work out.
Here’s A Universal Truth: There is only individualized medicine and the good news and the bad news is that you’re in complete control of your overall health and how your body looks, feels, and heals.
So What Is A DRA?
DRA is a condition that I’ve seen almost every day in my practice for the last 17 years. This condition is complex, and it has taken me some time to understand how to treat it and heal it.
A DRA is a separation of the two halves of the rectus abdominal muscles (six-pack muscles) at the linea alba. When these abdominal muscles separate they make women look pregnant destroying their self-esteem. This separation also puts women at risk for pelvic floor dysfunction of ALL types.
DRA is a Threat to Women’s Health & Vitality
For instance, women with DRA are more likely to suffer from back pain, pelvic organ prolapse, incontinence, and sexual pain. How is it possible that having a mummy tummy (DRA) can contribute to so many female issues?
The abdominals are connected to the pelvic floor muscles through the fascial system, and they’re not there to just look pretty. Our core muscles are there to support our pelvic floor muscles, back muscles, hip muscles, our female organs, hip bones, and spine. It’s a big job, so they have to be appropriately exercised.
When DRA is present, it weakens the abdominals and all the associated areas. A DRA can also lead to abdominal trigger points that can refer to pain, burning, and even itchiness to the vulva-vaginal area and also urinary urgency ( the need to pee all the time).
DRA is a threat to women’s physical, mental and emotional well-being, and it cannot be whittled down to a one-size-fits-all exercise. I see these types of programs all over the internet and fabrications of the worst kind.
DRA is best corrected with a combination of Kegels and core exercises such as the ones in my V-Core Lift Essentials program. Click here to strengthen your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles the right and safe way!!
As a practitioner, I take a holistic approach to healing and correcting the DRA and teach you how to heal it for yourself.
Magic Bullet Healing Syndrome
My big concern is the “Magic Bullet Healing Syndrome” that is plaguing us. Women think and believe that a DRA and other health issues can be taken care of with little or no effort.
We’ve been indoctrinated into thinking one pill for one ill and it’s NOT our fault. There’s a whole industry telling us we are NOT in control of our bodies and we need to outsource our vulva-vaginal, bladder, and physical care to the powers that be.
Many times, there is little or no medical evidence to provide solid proof that certain pills, surgeries, and exercises can heal a DRA or anything quickly. This type of propaganda makes women feel that if we don’t heal ourselves in a nanosecond, there’s something wrong with us.
The “Magic Pill Healing Syndrome” leads women to believe that healing is supposed to be easy, fast, and bulletproof. This type of thinking has gotten us further away from our truths and long-lasting health benefits.
All we have to do is look at the pharmaceutical industry and the opioid epidemic to know there is no magic bullet that will heal your DRA. Then take a look at the Kardashian’s and other movie stars and know that social media plays a head game on women who are desperate to get their bodies back. There is no pill you can take or a snake oil program promising to cure your leaking with 1 stretch.
Healing takes time, smarts, and guidance and you can do it for yourself!!!
We have to be smart enough not to fall for gimmicks and false promises. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Healing is NOT about what we look like on the outside; it’s so much more than pretty.
Healing is about how we function and how we live each day in awareness and consciousness. Healing doesn’t happen overnight; it can take a long time, and it can be an arduous journey. But it is your journey and one that can be enjoyed even in the darkest of moments. Painful moments, flares, and other symptoms are there to teach us about ourselves. They are not there to punish you and to help you level up your life.
But it’s your journey, and as the Queen of your queendom, it is essential to listen closely to your intuition and to follow exercise programs that work for you. So the next time you are in a class, and you are promised nirvana, listen carefully to the messages of your body because I can tell you it will not lie to you.
I have included some guidelines that will help you safely conquer your DRA and simultaneously provide you with long-term success.
Here’s What to Avoid and What to Do If You Have a DRA
Nutrition is ultra important in healing in the Mummy Tummy -DRA and should not be overlooked. I often recommend a good bone broth and putting collagen powder in smoothies. My Total Fem Collagen is now available! Collagen is a MUST for DRA healing but not all collagen on the market all created equal, don’t waste your money on just any collagen.
- Don’t hold your breath – it compromises the linea alba which is the connective tissue that holds the recti abdominal muscles together and it negatively affects the pelvic floor muscles.
- Don’t forcefully pull or suck your abdominals inward unless you want your organs to prolapse (drop) into your vagina. A forceful inward abdominal contraction creates a downward piston effect on your organs and pushes them out of place and into your pelvic floor.
- Get on a balanced Kegel and core self-care program that includes kegel and abdominal work Click here to start healing your DRA with my V Core Lift Complete Program.
- Avoid traditional crunches, which make a DRA wider. Instead, use a more functional approach to training your core. I reveal how to train your core properly in great detail in my self-paced online program, V Core Lift Complete. Make sure that you are training the abdominal muscles in a comprehensive and balanced manner and avoid over-activation of the external obliques ( this happens when you suck in your abs), which can keep the DRA from healing.
- Avoid unsupported forward flexion such as sun salutes in yoga, which will widen your DRA. Bend from the knees to pick up your grandkids or kids.
- Posture counts with DRA healing too, so avoid slump sitting and forward head posture.
- Avoid jack-knifing out of bed. Instead, log roll to maintain a closed DRA. To log roll, turn to your side from laying down and then sit up from that position.
- Use a belly splint in the postpartum period and BEYOND. Wear the splint or belly hold it slightly below the pubic bone to support your uterus and bladder. A splint helps to bring awareness to the way you are using or not your abdominals with everyday activities. Splints also help support the abdominals after abdominal surgeries and it’s a good idea to utilize them. In my culture, every woman wears a splint and we call it a “faja.”
- If you have had a cesarean, or have a Myomectomy, hysterectomy, or laparoscopic scar you must address the scar tissue as well. Many women have scar tissue that prevents a DRA from closing. Once the scar is healed a simple massage on the scar will help heal a DRA.
- The #1 core exercise you can do to start healing DRA, pelvic floor, and reducing back pain is the Transverse Belly hold. I have written a whole article on this one exercise. This is where you start. Without this foundational exercise, you CANNOT progress to any other DRA healing exercises. Click here to discover how to do this foundational DRA healing exercise by reading my blog on it
Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, then…
Fads, gimmicks, and gadgets have come and gone for as long as I can remember and they will continue to entice us to take advantage of them. The problem and challenge are that even though it sounds good and looks good and all the information is presented in a compelling way….it doesn’t necessarily equate to being the right thing to pursue to heal a DRA.
I feel it’s my responsibility as someone who has been there and done that, to let you know the truth, the consequences, and the risks associated with any type of new practice or technique that people may be flocking to.
Proceed with caution, at the end of the day we’re talking about your life, your health, and your vitality. It’s important to me that you’re informed, educated and that you listen to the messages of your body.
Individualized medicine and listening to the messages of your body is the way back to health. The good and the bad news is that you’re in control and you’re the only one that can decide what is right for you.