What is vaginal gas?
Vaginal gas is when you pass gas through your vagina. Other terms for vaginal gas are queefing or farting from your vagina. It happens when your vagina releases air that’s trapped inside. It’s an involuntary bodily function that you can’t control. When this air comes out, it makes a noise similar to flatulence or farting from your rectum.
While it can be embarrassing, vaginal farting is very common and typically harmless. However, it can be a symptom of an underlying health condition if it occurs with other more serious symptoms.
What are the symptoms of vaginal gas?
The main symptom of vaginal gas is hearing and feeling air escape from your vagina, similar to hearing a fart from your rectum. You may even feel gas trapped inside your vagina before it escapes. A queef only lasts a few seconds. Unlike a fart, gas from your vagina doesn’t smell because it’s not related to your digestive system.
What are the causes of vaginal gas?
Air gets trapped inside your vaginal canal in a variety of ways. Your vaginal canal (or birth canal) is the muscular area inside your body where you place a tampon during menstruation. The trapped air has nowhere to go but out — the sound you hear is air being pushed out of your vagina.
Several factors cause air to become trapped inside your vagina. Some of the most common are:
- Sexual activities: Sex is one of the biggest causes of vaginal gas. When a penis, sex toy or finger moves in and out of your vagina, air can get pushed inside. When it’s removed from your vagina, the air is released. Vaginal gas happens more in certain positions or when you change positions during sexual intercourse.
- Using tampons: Like sexual intercourse, pushing a tampon or menstrual cup into your vagina during menstruation may force air into your vaginal canal. The air escapes when you remove the tampon or cup, and you hear a queef.
- Weak pelvic floor muscles: Menopause, childbirth and other causes of pelvic floor dysfunction increase your chances of vaginal flatulence because they weaken your pelvic floor muscles.
- Vaginal exams: It’s common to pass gas out your vagina during a pelvic exam. When your provider inserts a speculum into your vagina, this allows air to enter. A speculum is the device provider’s use to see inside your vagina.
- Vaginal fistulas: A fistula is an opening between your vaginal canal and your urinary or digestive organs (such as your bladder or intestines). Vaginal fistulas are typically the result of trauma, surgery or other disease. Other than vaginal gas, symptoms of a vaginal fistula include leaking pee, foul-smelling pee and fecal incontinence.
- Physical movement: Yoga, exercise and other movements like running can cause air to get trapped inside your vagina because your vagina is slightly opened or stretched during these activities.
It’s fine if air accidentally gets pushed into your vagina. You shouldn’t push or blow air into your vagina intentionally as it can cause air to get trapped in your blood vessels (air embolism).
Can vaginal gas cause pain?
Trapped gas inside your vagina doesn’t usually cause pain. It may be a sign of an underlying condition, like a vaginal fistula, if it does. If you feel pain from your vagina or have symptoms of a vaginal fistula, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider so they can take a look.
Care and Treatment
What are treatments for vaginal gas?
Vaginal flatulence or queefing is normal and common. It doesn’t require treatment because, in most cases, sexual activity or exercise cause it. Refraining from or reducing these activities is the only way to treat vaginal gas.
Since weak pelvic floor muscles are another common cause of vaginal gas, strength exercises to help tone and tighten your pelvic muscles may help reduce the frequency of vaginal gas. The best way to do this is by performing exercises like Kegels or working with a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor therapy. To do a Kegel, squeeze the muscles you’d use to stop or hold your pee for 10 seconds several times per day.
How can I prevent vaginal gas?
Vaginal gas is a normal occurrence, and you can’t do much to prevent it. However, certain activities like sex, exercise or childbirth can cause vaginal gas to happen more frequently. Avoiding activities or sexual positions that make you queef more often may also help.
If chronic vaginal gas is causing pain or disrupting your life, your healthcare provider may be able to help. In rare cases, vaginal gas is a sign of an underlying condition.
When to Call the Doctor
When should a healthcare provider treat vaginal gas?
Passing gas out of your vagina is common, especially during or after sexual activity. This is normal and not a cause for concern. However, if you’re passing gas from your vagina regularly and it’s unrelated to sex, it may be time to contact a gynecologist. They can perform a pelvic exam to check if an underlying condition, like a vaginal fistula, is causing your vaginal gas.
Contact a provider if you have vaginal gas and any of the following symptoms:
- Pain during sex or pain in your vagina, vulva or perineum (space between your vagina and anus).
- Foul-smelling vaginal odor.
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Leaking pus or poop from your vagina.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Vaginal gas (or queefing) is an odd bodily function that usually poses no health risks. While embarrassing and annoying, vaginal gas is usually nothing to worry about and is extremely common. You may pass gas out of your vagina during sex and exercise. Having a weak pelvic floor from childbirth and pregnancy can also contribute to more queefing. In rare cases, vaginal gas is caused by an underlying health condition, like a fistula. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience pain and other serious symptoms along with vaginal gas.
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