The State of Art Education Initiative

What is vaginal flatus?

Reviewed by the medical professionals of the ISSM’s Communication Committee

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Vaginal flatus (sometimes called vaginal flatulence, noisy vagina, or queefing) is passing gas through the vagina.

It is sometimes compared to anal flatulence because it makes a similar noise. While fairly common, many women feel embarrassed by it and are ashamed of discussing it with their healthcare provider.

Most of the time, vaginal flatus is not harmful. However, it can be a symptom of pelvic organ prolapse, vaginal laxity, or fistula.

Often, vaginal flatus is triggered by sexual activity, when a penis, finger, or sex toy is inserted into the vagina. The insertion of other objects, like tampons, menstrual cups, or a gynecologist’s speculum can cause flatulence as well.

It can also happen during exercise, especially activities that involve stretching, like yoga.

In some cases, vaginal flatus is a sign of medical conditions like the following:

  • Pelvic floor weakness/vaginal laxity. Sometimes compared to a hammock, the pelvic floor is a muscle group that supports pelvic organs, like the uterus and bladder. These muscles may weaken with pregnancy, childbirth, or menopause.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse. This occurs when pelvic organs (such as the bladder or uterus) drop down into the vagina.
  • Fistulas. Fistulas are connections between two organs that are not typically connected, like the vagina and rectum or the vagina and urethra (the tube that allows urine to exit the body).

A 2021 Journal of Sexual Medicine study investigated the effects of vaginal flatus on sexuality in women with pelvic floor disorders. About 35% of the women experienced vaginal flatus. Sex was the most common trigger, and many women said they were bothered by it.

Some women find they can release the gas on their own by squatting during urination. Others try relaxation exercises.

Strengthening the pelvic floor with Kegel exercises can be another helpful strategy. However, often Kegel exercises alone are not enough. In these cases, the best approach is pelvic floor rehabilitation.

However, if vaginal flatus becomes an issue for you, or if it is accompanied by pain, discharge, or a distinct odor, be sure to speak to a healthcare professional.


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