Vaginal Flatulence or Queefing? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention
Vaginal flatulence is an emission or expulsion of air from the vagina. It may occur during or after sexual intercourse or during other sexual acts, stretching, or exercise. The sound is often comparable to flatulence from the anus but does not involve waste gases, and thus often does not have a specific odor associated. Slang terms for vaginal flatulence include queef, vart, and fanny fart (mostly British).
Queefing or vaginal gas is an involuntary bodily action which occurs when the air that has been trapped inside the vagina gets released. With a loud and embarrassing noise, of course.
Scientifically, queefing is known as “flatus vaginalis” or vaginal flatulence. Many also refer to it as vaginal farts. Yet, apart from the sound, queefing has nothing to do with actual farts. While gas from your rectum is a byproduct of the digestion process, vaginal gas is simply air from outside the body that finds its way into the vagina.
Under regular circumstances, queefing is relatively rare. Vaginal walls are muscular and clasped together. Air bubbles can still sometimes get trapped inside, for example, if your pelvis is tilted in an upright position when changing positions during sex, exercising, or doing yoga.
However, queefing can become more frequent or even excessive such as after having a baby.
The pelvic floor is a complex structure and its muscles and tissues are interconnected with those of the vagina. In addition to that, the opening to the vagina is a part of the pelvic floor.
Pelvic floor dysfunction is an umbrella term that refers to various issues surrounding our pelvic floor. It can be a natural occurrence due to aging and approaching menopause or a result of injury or damage to the pelvic floor, such as during pregnancy, especially if you’ve experienced intense labor or have had episiotomies or severe tearing.
More serious conditions of Vaginal Flatulence or Queefing
Vaginal gas with a strong odor of fecal matter may be a result of colovaginal fistula, a serious condition involving a tear between the vagina and colon, which can result from surgery, child birth, diseases (such as Crohn’s disease), or other causes. This condition can lead to urinary tract infection and other complications. Vaginal gas can also be a symptom of an internal female genital prolapse, a condition most often caused by childbirth.
Puffs or small amounts of air passed into the vaginal cavity during cunnilingus are not known to cause any issues. However, “forcing” or purposely blowing air at force into the vaginal cavity can cause an air embolism, which in very rare cases can be dangerous for the woman, and if pregnant, for the fetus.
Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Flatulence or Queefing
Whether you call it a queef, a vaginal fart, vaginal gas, or even a “vart,” the passage of air through the vaginal canal produces a sound that’s similar to anal flatulence. But unlike a fart, a vaginal release of air doesn’t have a gassy odor.
Causes and Risk Factors of Vaginal Flatulence or Queefing
Much of the information compiled on vaginal flatulence — especially on the internet — is anecdotal, and more research would likely offer us a better understanding of what might make some women more likely to queef. With that caveat in mind, there are a number of situations and factors associated with vaginal flatulence, including:
- Sexual intercourse or inserting an object into the vagina When something is inserted into the vagina, it can displace the air inside. It’s possible to experience vaginal flatulence during a pelvic exam when a nurse or doctor inserts or removes a speculum.
- Exercise or stretching Movements during exercise can cause air to become trapped inside the vagina. Women often report vaginal flatulence during certain physical activities, such as yoga.
- Pregnancy or menopause Some women report more episodes of vaginal flatulence during pregnancy or menopause.
- Pelvic floor anatomy Everyone’s pelvic floor is unique, and some may be more prone than others to expel trapped air.
- A rare cause of vaginal flatulence is a vaginal fistula. A fistula is an abnormal opening that connects the vagina to another organ, such as your bladder, colon, or rectum. If the fistula is connected to the colon or rectum, it can cause the passage of stool from the vagina. Childbirth, cancer treatments, injury, and certain surgical procedures can lead to the formation of a fistula, but again, it’s highly uncommon. See your doctor or nurse if your queefs smell bad, or if you notice an unusual discharge.
Prevention of Vaginal Flatulence
Queefs happen naturally during sex and exercise, and there may not be much you can do to prevent them. As far as sex goes, pay attention to whether or not certain positions make you queef more. But if you’re comfortable with your partner or partners, you’ll likely be able to laugh it off.
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Complications of Vaginal Flatulence
Vaginal flatulence itself doesn’t cause complications (aside from some possible embarrassment).
Related Conditions of Vaginal Flatulence
When you release gas through your digestive system — also known as farting — it sounds a lot like a queef. But the causes of intestinal gas and vaginal flatulence are different. Swallowing excessive air can cause farting; bacteria in the intestine produce gas when processing foods that pass into the colon before being digested higher up in the digestive tract; and rectal gas can be a side effect of some medications.
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