What Is Vaginal Flatulence? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Medically Reviewed
Vaginal flatulence, also known as vaginal flatus, or queef, is an emission of trapped air from the vagina. Vaginal flatulence is both common and completely normal. It most frequently occurs during sexual activity or exercise.

Overwhelmingly, it doesn't pose any gynecological health risks.

Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Flatulence

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

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 in 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 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 slightly unique, and some may be more prone than others to expelling 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 if your queefs smell bad, or if you notice an unusual discharge.

Diagnosis of Vaginal Flatulence

While there aren’t specific tests or procedures to determine if these air emissions are simply the occasional result of air escaping from the vagina, your doctor may perform a pelvic exam to rule out a more serious problem.

Duration of Vaginal Flatulence

A queef typically lasts a few seconds during or after sex or during exercise.

Treatment of Vaginal Flatulence

Because vaginal flatulence is a normal occurrence, there’s no need to treat it or seek a remedy for it.

But there may be times when queefing is associated with a medical issue that requires treatment.

Some research has found an association between pelvic organ prolapse and vaginal flatulence, but the evidence is lacking and inconsistent. Prolapse occurs when any of the pelvic organs drop down due to weakness in the supporting structures.

Childbirth and other conditions that put pressure on pelvic tissues can cause this.

If your vaginal flatulence happens to be associated with prolapse, treatment might involve using a pessary — a plastic or rubber circular device that fits into the vagina and supports tissues that were displaced by prolapse — and trying to strengthen your pelvic muscles by performing Kegel exercises.

To perform Kegels, squeeze the muscles you use to stop urinating. Hold this contraction for up to 10 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds, making sure to concentrate on contracting just your pelvic floor muscles, as opposed to your abdominal muscles as well. Try to work up to at least three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions each day. As a side note, do not do Kegels while urinating. This can cause insufficient emptying of the bladder, which can lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Depending on the severity of the prolapse, surgery may be necessary.

You should see your doctor if you have vaginal flatulence paired with more worrying symptoms including:

  • Stool or pus coming from your vagina
  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad or off
  • Frequent vaginal or urinary tract infections
  • Irritation or pain in vulva, vagina, or area between vagina and anus
  • Pain during sex

If you have these symptoms, queefing could be a sign of a rectovaginal fistula — which is rare.

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.

As mentioned above, if you’ve suffered a prolapse and it’s possibly causing you to queef, your doctor may recommend using a pessary.

Research and Statistics: Who Gets Vaginal Flatulence?

Any woman can experience vaginal flatulence. There is some research, however, that suggests certain women may be more prone to it. For instance, a meta-analysis of 15 studies on vaginal flatulence found that women who had delivered babies vaginally often reported occurrences of vaginal flatulence after the fact, but this certainly is not the only factor that can lead to vaginal flatulence.

Plenty of women who have never been pregnant experience vaginal flatulence, too. One study of nearly 1,000 women ages 18 to 80 found that women with low BMI and who are younger have more instances of vaginal flatulence.

A study published in March 2021 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that more than a third of women with pelvic floor disorders reported vaginal flatus (the involuntary passing of gas from the vagina).

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.

Resources We Love

Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood offers a wealth of reliable information about women’s health — from sexual and reproductive issues and concerns to questions about queefing.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) 

For trusted, evidence-based information from expert physicians, visit ACOG’s website, where you’ll find this FAQ on women’s sexual health, as well as sections geared toward teens, pregnancy, and healthy aging.

Additional reporting by Kaitlin Sullivan.

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

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