Vaginal Gas: Why Does it Occur?
Vaginal gas is also known as queefing, cupping, or vaginal flatulence. The vast majority of women have experienced it at some time in their lives. As with flatulence expelled through the anus, it’s often a source of discomfort or embarrassment.
Vaginal gas is caused by the expulsion of air that has accumulated in the vagina. The air, when coming out, causes a characteristic noise, very similar to the one that takes place with intestinal gas, although there is no odor.
The truth is that this is a physiological situation that is not usually a symptom of any health problem. However, in some cases, it can be related to certain medical conditions, such as fistulas.
Therefore, in this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about it, including how you can avoid vaginal gas, and when to consult a doctor.
What is vaginal gas?
Vaginal gas, as we pointed out in the introduction, is the expulsion of air accumulated in the vagina. It causes a characteristic noise similar to intestinal gas. However, vaginal gas is usually odorless since it doesn’t originate from bacterial action, as is the case with intestinal gas.
It can occur in any woman, regardless of her age. However, it has been suggested that younger women tend to develop it more frequently than older women. It’s estimated that one in eight women in the general population has experienced it.
The truth is that this type of gas is more frequent during sexual intercourse, but this is not always related. Physical activity, certain movements, or masturbation can also be triggers.
Vaginal gas can produce a sensation similar to tickling. Because it’s often associated with intercourse, most women feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when they experience it.
A study published in ISNR Obstetrics and Gynecology explains that the incidence of vaginal gas is higher in women who have had vaginal deliveries. It may also be influenced by body mass index.
Why does vaginal gas appear?
Although it’s true that in most women it’s something benign and temporary, in some cases, it may be a symptom of a concomitant pathology. In the following sections, we explain what are the main causes of vaginal gas.
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Sex is one of the situations that most often promotes the appearance of gas, wind, or vaginal flatulence, according to experts from the Cleveland Clinic, especially when there’s vaginal penetration. However, it can also occur during oral sex or even masturbation.
When the penis enters and exits the vagina, air can become trapped inside the vagina. Changes in positions during intercourse also promote its formation. When the penis comes out or the vaginal muscles tighten after orgasm, the air tends to come out of the vagina, producing the characteristic sound of vaginal gas.
The positions most often associated with vaginal gas are the “doggy style” and when the woman places her legs on the man’s shoulders. On the other hand, others such as the missionary position or the woman sitting astride him tend to reduce its occurrence.
Pelvic floor dysfunction
The pelvic floor refers to a set of muscles and ligaments that are located in the lower part of the abdominal cavity. They allow the pelvic organs, such as the uterus or vagina, to be held in their proper position.
When the pelvic floor deteriorates, it’s common for various ailments and conditions to appear, including vaginal gas. With decreased tone (hypotonia), the muscles lose their ability to contract and air tends to accumulate more inside the vagina.
Numerous factors influence pelvic floor dysfunction. Aging and vaginal childbirth are two of the most frequent. Therefore, it’s recommended that all women exercise them throughout their lives. In this way, the consequences of their deterioration, including vaginal gas, can be avoided.
Vaginal fistulas are one of the worrying causes of vaginal gas. A vaginal fistula is an abnormal pathway that connects the vagina to another organ, such as the rectum or bladder. Its name varies depending on which organs are involved.
Fistulas cause other substances to appear in the vagina in addition to vaginal gas. The most frequent is the vesicovaginal fistula, which connects the bladder to the vagina. As explained by the professionals of Obstetrics & Gynecology, this condition is usually associated with gynecological surgical injuries and complicated deliveries.
The ureterovaginal fistula connects the ureters with this organ. This allows urine to reach the vagina. The rectovaginal, on the other hand, allows gas or fecal material to pass into the rectovagina.
The latter is also linked to childbirth, although it can develop from inflammatory bowel diseases. For example, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Could vaginal gas be a symptom of something serious?
As you have seen, most of the time flatulence or vaginal gas is completely harmless. However, as we clarified in the last section, this type of gas can be a symptom of a serious condition, like a fistula. For this reason, it’s important to be aware of certain warning signs that can help to identify this pathology.
It’s recommended to consult a doctor if the vaginal gas has an unpleasant or foul odor. It’s also important to observe if it’s accompanied by the expulsion of feces, pus, or abnormal liquid.
Women who frequently suffer from vaginal or urinary infections, in addition to gas, should also consult a doctor to see if there is any fistula. The same applies if, in addition to vaginal gas, pain appears in the vaginal area, either during sexual intercourse or at any time.
Other warning signs are vulvar or vaginal inflammation, bleeding that isn’t related to menstruation, or urine leakage. If vaginal gas occurs after gynecological surgery, childbirth, or certain treatments such as radiation therapy, it’s necessary to see a doctor.
Can vaginal gas be avoided?
Vaginal gas can’t always be prevented. However, it’s not necessary to do so. It’s only important to see a doctor if any of the alarm symptoms appear, such as those mentioned above, or if this situation causes a lot of concern.
Beyond prevention, the key is to learn to manage the sensations that accompany vaginal flatulence. Women often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, but this shouldn’t be the case. It’s physiological, normal, and common.
When they appear, it’s best to talk about it with your partner, since this is often associated with certain positions in the sexual act. In fact, some postures can help them to disappear or not to appear.
Therefore, communication is essential. The subject should be treated naturally to try to create confidence and comfort. On the other hand, it’s recommended not to try to retain them, but to find a way to expel it.
Like this article? You may also like to read: 23 Types and Shapes of Vagina: All of Them Are Normal
Tips to avoid vaginal gas
However, if you find the gas very uncomfortable or embarrassing, there are several things you can do to avoid vaginal gas or at least minimize its appearance.
A study also published in International Urogynecology Journal explains that certain women noticed a decrease in vaginal gas using a pessary. This is a device that is placed inside the vagina to treat pelvic organ prolapse.
On the other hand, there are Kegel exercises; these are an activity aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. They consist of contracting these muscles several times a day. It’s as if the woman were sitting on a marble and trying to lift it. Also, they are similar to trying to stop the act of urinating.
They’re recommended for all women, regardless of age or condition. It’s not necessary to have given childbirth to perform them. They can help to decrease the incidence of numerous pathologies, such as prolapse, and urinary incontinence, and even help to manage the situation when there’s vaginal gas.
Finally, it’s important to remember that there are certain sexual positions that favor the possibility of this situation, as mentioned above. So, if you want to know how you can avoid the appearance of vaginal gas, perhaps the answer lies in changing the position you assume when having sex. For example, don’t do the doggy style or have sex on all fours.
When to go to the doctor
It’s true that in some cases vaginal gas may be associated with a condition. However, beyond this, it’s important to understand that it’s physiological and normal. We must try to avoid this situation causing embarrassment or discomfort.
In any case, if there are doubts or discomfort, it’s always a good idea to consult a specialist to rule out any disease. Regarding vaginal flatulence, the most important thing is to encourage communication and trust so that it doesn’t become a problem in the sexual life of women.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Cleveland Clinic. (n.d). “Vaginal Gas” [Gases vaginales]. Revisado el 27 Dic 2022. Disponible en: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/24185-vaginal-gas
- Huizen, J. (2017, Sep 18). “What’s to know about vaginal gas?” [¿Qué hay que saber sobre los gases vaginales?]. Medical News Today. Revisado el 27 de Dic 2022. Disponible en: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319558
- Krissi, H., Medina, C., & Stanton, S. L. (2003). Vaginal wind – a new pelvic symptom [Viento vaginal – un nuevo síntoma pélvico]. International urogynecology journal and pelvic floor dysfunction, 14(6), 399–402. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-003-1086-8
- Neels, H., Pacquée, S., Shek, K. L., Gillor, M., Caudwell-Hall, J., & Dietz, H. P. (2020). Is vaginal flatus related to pelvic floor functional anatomy? [¿Las flatulencias vaginales están relacionadas a la anatomía funcional del suelo pélvico?]. International urogynecology journal, 31(12), 2551–2555. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00192-020-04371-9
- Rogers, R. G., & Jeppson, P. C. (2016). Current Diagnosis and Management of Pelvic Fistulae in Women [Diagnóstico y Manejo Actual de Fístulas Pélvicas en
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- Veisi, F., Rezavand, N., Zangeneh, M., Malekkhosravi, S., & Rezaei, M. (2012). Vaginal flatus and the associated risk factors in Iranian women: a main research article [Flatulencias vaginales y los factores de riesgo asociados en mujeres iraníes: un artículo de investigación]. ISRN obstetrics and gynecology, 2012, 802648. https://doi.org/10.5402/2012/802648