What is Vaginal Gas?
Vaginal gas, or queef, occurs when large pockets of air get trapped inside the vagina and cause a sound as they get released from the vagina. This sound is similar to common flatulence from the rectum. While often embarrassing, vaginal flatulence is odorless and is typically considered a regular occurrence. Women often ask what causes vaginal gas and wish to know ways to get rid of it.
What Causes Vaginal Gas?
Vaginal gas is not harmful and is rarely a symptom of a severe health issue. However, sometimes it can be a sign of vaginal fistula when accompanied by symptoms like abdominal pain, discomfort or pain in and around the rectum and vagina, nausea, incontinence, painful sex, frequent urinary tract infection, diarrhea, and smelly vaginal discharge. In such cases, the underlying medical condition needs to be treated.
When something is inserted into the vagina, air can enter and get trapped inside. Some common natural causes of vaginal gas include the following
Sexual Activity – Air can easily get stuck inside the vagina during sexual activity. Every time the penis or another object is inserted in the vagina, the expansion and contraction of the vaginal muscles allow air to enter and become trapped. When this air gets released, it causes the noise and sensation of air bubbles of vaginal gas. In rare cases, air bubbles get stuck under the diaphragm and cause chest pain and upper abdominal pain.
Exercise or Stretching – Movements during exercise also allow air to become trapped inside the vagina. Certain physical activities which involve stretching the pelvic region, like certain poses of yoga, encourage the vagina to expand and contract, thereby allowing more air to enter. This trapped air or vaginal gas suddenly gets released during a change in pose or position, causing noise or queef. Even coughing can cause the pelvic muscles to tense, and push the air downward and out of the vagina.
Female Hygiene Products – Female hygiene products like tampons and menstrual cups, when inserted into the vagina, can allow trapping of air bubbles and lead to vaginal gas. This air gets released when the product is removed.
Pregnancy or Menopause – Women can experience vaginal gas during pregnancy or menopause.
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction – Vaginal gas is a symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction. Pelvic floor muscle weakness can occur due to age, being overweight, or excessive bowel strain. It can lead to conditions like fecal and urinary incontinence. Childbirth can also lead to pelvic floor weakness and cause vaginal flatulence. Sometimes, weak pelvic floor muscles can result in conditions like vaginal or pelvic organ prolapse.
Gynecological Exams or Procedures – Physical examination and speculum insertion during gynecological exams and other procedures can cause air to get trapped in the vagina. Queefing or vaginal gas occurs when the doctor removes the speculum and finishes the physical examination.
Colonoscopy or Other Surgery – Some medical procedures, like a colonoscopy, can cause redistribution of air in the body and thereby lead to vaginal gas.
How Can Vaginal Gas Be Stopped?
While vaginal gas can occur due to certain medical procedures, it is best to follow medical advice to prevent or manage vaginal gas. For certain medical conditions and pelvic floor dysfunction, it is necessary to consult a doctor. For other causes of vaginal gas are a result of regular activities, certain modifications and lifestyle changes can help.
These measures can help you get rid of vaginal gas.
Experts suggest that the risk of vaginal gas or queefing can be reduced by performing Kegel exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. For performing Kegels exercises, the muscles which are used to stop urinating should be squeezed. This contraction should be held for up to 10 seconds and then relaxed for 10 seconds. At least three sets of 10 repetitions should be performed each day. Vaginal gas during sex can be limited by choosing positions which do not involve being bent over or upside down. Adopting slower thrusts during intercourse is also recommended to prevent air from becoming trapped in the vagina, thus preventing vaginal gas.
Having a healthy diet, exercise routine and maintaining an ideal weight can help in every way in staying healthy and keeping problems like vaginal gas at bay.