It is not uncommon for women to ask me about passing gas from their vaginas. This situation goes by many names: vaginal farts, vaginal flatus, fanny farts, vaginal wind just to name a few. The technical term is referred to as queefing.
What causes vaginal wind?
During sexual intimacy air is pushed into the vagina. Air enters the vagina not only during sex but also at the time of a speculum inserted into the vagina during a pelvic exam or with the insertion of a tampon. Air can also be pulled into the vagina during some kinds of exercise including Pilates.
If you push air in, it has to come out. And, as it escapes, it makes that characteristic sound of air coming out any small orifice such as the rectum. The difference is that vaginal wind does not have any odor like flatulence from the rectum which has an odor because of the methane gas in the colon. Sometimes vaginal wind can happen right after the air’s been pushed in, sometimes it can be a while later when things like laughing, coughing or walking force the air out.
Solving the problem
If you want to reduce vaginal wind during sex, avoid lots of deep and fast penetration. If you’re using sex toys with a wide girth you may want to avoid these if they’re making noise after they are inserted.
When to seek doctor’s advice
Fanny farts are very normal and not a sign there’s something wrong. However, seek medical advice if you have vaginal or abdominal pain during and after sex, notice your vagina smells bad, or there’s an unusual vaginal discharge. Particularly if you’ve recently had colorectal, bowel or gynaecological surgery, or have had a baby.
You also need a medical opinion if you’re leaking urine outside of urination, or notice fecal material inside your vagina as this might indicate a connection between the urinary tract and the gastrointestinal tract.
Bottom Line: Vaginal wind is almost never a condition requiring treatment or therapy. Yes, it may be a source of embarrassment but should be considered in a light hearted fashion and a source of humor not a hygienic problem.