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Vaginal Gas: Why Women Queef and What to Do About It

You may not be familiar with the term, but most women have experienced a queef at least once in their lives. In this article, we’ll answer all your questions about queefing and how you can prevent it.

What is vaginal gas?

Also referred to as vaginal flatulence or vaginal farts, vaginal gas also goes by another name: queef. But what is it?

Queefing is an involuntary bodily function that occurs when trapped air is released from the vagina. The release of this air is the vaginal fart or queef.

When the air is released, you might hear a sound similar to a fart. However, unlike flatulence, a queef does not emit any odor. Even though there is no odor, the sound of queefing can be embarrassing. 

Embarrassing though it may be, it’s also very common. Most of the time, queefing happens because air has become trapped in the vaginal canal during physical movements such as yoga or sex. In some rare cases, a queef can be a sign of a more serious medical condition or issue that needs addressing. 

Air can get trapped in the vagina when an object is inserted, such as a finger, tampon, sex toy, or penis. Moving around during activities such as exercise or stretching can also produce air in the vagina. Childbirth is another situation where queefing may occur, as pelvic floor muscles may have weakened during pregnancy. 

What causes queefing?

Air can enter the vaginal canal in a number of ways, but the result is always the same: The air gets trapped, forming an air bubble in the vagina. But why do queefs happen in the first place? The most common reasons are certain movements such as yoga or sexual activity (though keep in mind that queefs during sex should never be painful).

Exercises: yoga or stretching

Although any exercise can cause a queef, certain yoga poses are particularly susceptible to causing vaginal gas. Inversions are the most common poses that cause queefing. Headstands, shoulder stands, and downward-facing dog can all make you more prone to queefing. Anything that requires a deep level of strength in the abdominal and pelvic floor region can contribute to queefing.

During sex

Different forms of sexual activity can also introduce air into the vagina and create sex noises. The movement of a vibrator or penis in and out of the vagina can also introduce air that quickly becomes trapped. When the object or penis is removed, the gas is released. Oral sex can also introduce air into the vagina.      

In cases such as these, queefing is just a normal bodily function and nothing to be concerned about.

Can vaginal gas be a sign of anything serious? 

In some situations, frequent queefing can be a sign of a medical condition or issue. The two main conditions are pelvic floor dysfunction and vaginal fistulas (e.g., rectovaginal, colovaginal, vesicovaginal, enterovaginal, ereterovaginal, or urethrovaginal fistulas). 

Strong pelvic floor muscles help prevent incontinence, uncontrollable flatulence, and queefs. For many women, pregnancy causes their pelvic floor to weaken, which can lead to pelvic floor dysfunction. This is when the pelvic floor inefficiently tightens and relaxes the muscles. Some women experience frequent incontinence when this happens, or they may feel the need to urinate more. Some will experience more queefing than normal. 

In some situations, frequent queefing can be a sign of a medical condition or issue. The two main conditions are pelvic floor dysfunction and vaginal fistulas.

You can strengthen your pelvic floor and reduce these symptoms in a number of ways. The most common treatments are exercises such as Kegels and pelvic floor physical therapy.

Sometimes, as a result of injury, surgery, or infection, vaginal fistulas can develop that also cause queefs. A vaginal fistula is an abnormal opening in the connection between the vagina and another organ such as the rectum, colon, or bladder. In order to resolve a vaginal fistula, a medical professional will need to assess and treat you.

If you have a vaginal fistula, you will have other symptoms besides frequent queefing. Other signs of vaginal fistulas include:

  • Frequent urinary tract infections or vaginitis (vaginal inflammation)
  • Diarrhea 
  • Painful sex
  • Abdominal pain or pain around and in the vaginal/anal region
  • The appearance of loose stool in urine
  • An unpleasant, strong smell in urine or vaginal discharge
  • Urinary and/or fecal incontinence 

The most common type of vaginal fistula, a vesicovaginal fistula, is when a hole forms between your vagina and your bladder. Here are some other common vaginal fistula types:

  • Rectovaginal fistulas develop between the vagina and the rectum. This hole can form during childbirth, but it is most common in developing countries where mothers may not have access to proper ob-gyn care. Frequent causes for these fistulas include radiation treatment to the pelvis in cancer treatment, pelvic surgery, or cases of ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease.  
  • Ureterovaginal fistulas are located between the vagina and ureter(s) through which urine travels from the bladder to the kidneys.
  • Urethrovaginal fistulas occur between the vagina and urethra, through which urine exits your body.
  • Enterovaginal fistulas occur between the vagina and small intestine.
  • Colovaginal fistulas are the rarest type. This hole between the vagina and the colon is most often seen in those with diverticular disease.

How to prevent queefing

Most of the time, there’s not much you can do to prevent vaginal gas. Still, there are certain techniques that may help you figure out how to avoid queefing during sex or when exercising.

When you are engaged in sexual activity, try keeping the finger, sex toy, or penis inside your vagina with less in-and-out movement. This keeps air from getting into the vagina as easily. You can try keeping it inside while changing sexual positions as well, since this is an opportune time for air to enter the vaginal canal. Using the right amount of lube may also do the trick.  

When doing yoga, strengthening and holding what is called the mula bandha or root lock can help. This is done by squeezing your pelvic floor and drawing your muscles up and in. Doing this can help stop air from entering your vagina. You can also avoid the postures that most commonly cause queefing during yoga, such as downward-facing dog and inversions. 

When you are engaged in sexual activity, try keeping the finger, sex toy, or penis inside your vagina with less in-and-out movement. This keeps air from getting into the vagina as easily.

One of the best ways to help prevent queefing is to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with regular Kegel exercises. They involve tightening your vaginal muscles, holding them for a few seconds, and then releasing and repeating. There are also Kegel tools or weights available that can be inserted into the vagina. As the vagina muscles work to hold the object in place, they are strengthened in the process. 

Some women also find using a tampon during exercise helps stop queefing. 

When to see a doctor

If you are queefing during sex or certain yoga positions, it’s likely nothing to worry about. However, if you are queefing regularly and have had one or more pregnancies (or know you have a weak pelvic floor or pelvic floor dysfunction), talk to your doctor. In the case of pelvic floor dysfunction, many women have seen improvements with pelvic physical therapy and regular Kegel exercises. If you have symptoms of a vaginal fistula, it is important to talk to your doctor. Fistulas typically require surgery to repair, and leaving them untreated can cause other, more significant health concerns.

The takeaway

For most of us, queefing is a normal, albeit annoying, bodily function. It’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about, and a very common thing that most women experience. If you queef during a sexual encounter, you could try acknowledging the queef instead of pretending it didn’t happen. This will likely improve any awkwardness you or your partner might be feeling. And what about during an exercise class? Remember that most people are not paying nearly as much attention to you as you think they might be and likely will not even notice.

Regardless of when a queef happens, the best thing you can do is move on and don’t let it ruin your experience or day. If queefs are related to an underlying medical condition, however, be sure to visit your doctor to get the help you need.

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