Vaginal gas: why do they occur?

Vaginal gas is also called gassing or flatulence. The vast majority of women have experienced them at some time in their life. As with flatulence that is expelled through the anus, it is often a cause for discomfort or embarrassment.

Vaginal gases are the expulsion of air that has accumulated in the vagina. The air, when leaving, causes a characteristic noise, very similar to that which occurs with intestinal gases.

The truth is that it 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. Thus, In this article we explain everything you need to know about vaginal gases and when to see a doctor.

Why do vaginal gases appear?

Some sexual positions can favor the appearance of vaginal gases.

Vaginal gases, as we have pointed out in the introduction, are the expulsion of air accumulated in the vagina. They cause a characteristic noise similar to intestinal gas. However, vaginals are usually odorless, since they do not come from bacterial action as occurs with the intestines.

They can appear in any woman, regardless of age. An article published in International Urogynecology Journal states that they are a very common condition. In fact, one in eight women in the general population has experienced them.

The truth is are 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. As they are usually associated with intercourse, most women feel embarrassed or uncomfortable when they experience them.

A study published in ISNR Obstetrics and Gynecology explain what the incidence of these gases is higher in young women who have had vaginal deliveries. It can also be influenced by the body mass index.

Although it is true that in most women vaginal gases are something benign and temporary, in some cases they can be a symptom of some concomitant pathology. In the following sections, we explain what its main causes are.

Sexual activity

Sex is one of the situations that most frequently promotes the appearance of vaginal gases. Especially, when there is vaginal penetration. However, it can also occur in oral sex or even in masturbation.

When the penis enters and leaves the vagina, air can be trapped within the vagina.. Changes in posture during sexual intercourse also favor its appearance. When the penis comes out or the vaginal muscles tighten after orgasm, the air tends to leave the vagina.

The postures that are most often associated with vaginal gases are "The little dog" and when the woman places her legs on the man's shoulders. On the other hand, others like "the missionary" or the woman sitting astride him tend to diminish their appearance.

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, vaginal gas is common. The muscles lose their ability to contract and air tends to accumulate more inside the vagina.

There are numerous factors that influence pelvic floor dysfunction. Aging and vaginal deliveries are two of the most common. Therefore, it is recommended that all women exercise them throughout their lives. In this way, the consequences of its deterioration can be avoided.

Vaginal fistula

Vaginal fistulas are one of the worrisome causes of vaginal gas. A vaginal fistula is an abnormal path that connects the vagina with another organ. For example, with the rectum or the bladder. Its name varies depending on the organs that are involved.

Fistulas mean that, in addition to vaginal gases, other substances can appear in the vagina. The most common is the vesiculovaginal fistula that connects the bladder with the vagina. According to the professionals of Obstetrics & Gynecology, this pathology 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 it.

The latter is also related to childbirth, although it can be caused by inflammatory bowel diseases. For example, Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis.

Can they mean something bad?

As we have seen, most of the time vaginal gases appear benign. However, as we clarified in the last section, they can be a symptom of a serious condition, such as a vaginal fistula. Therefore, we must be aware of certain alarm signs that can help identify this pathology.

It is recommended see a doctor if vaginal gas has a foul-smelling or foul odor. In the same way, it is important to observe if they are accompanied by the expulsion of stool, pus or abnormal fluid.

Women who suffer from frequent vaginal or urinary infections, added to the gases, they should also go to the doctor's office to study if there is a fistula. The same if, in addition to gas, pain appears during sexual intercourse or in the vaginal area.

Other warning signs are vulvar or vaginal inflammation, bleeding that is not related to menstruation, or urine leaks. If vaginal gases appear after gynecological surgery, childbirth or certain treatments such as radiotherapy, it is essential to go to the doctor.

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How to prevent vaginal gas

Kegel exercises can help maintain good pelvic floor health.

The truth is that vaginal gas cannot always be prevented. However, it doesn't have to be necessary either. It is important to see a doctor if any of the alarm symptoms appear or if this situation causes great concern.

However, beyond prevention, the ideal is to learn to manage the sensations that accompany these flatulence. Women often feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, but it shouldn't be that way. It is something physiological and frequent.

Therefore, when they appear, it is best to discuss it with your partner. Since they are often associated with certain positions or sexual activities, communication is essential. You have to treat the subject naturally to try to create confidence and comfort.

Also, some poses can help them disappear. For example, squat down or on the toilet to urinate. It is not recommended to try to retain them, if not to find a way to expel them.

A study also published in International Urogynecology Journal explain what certain women noticed a decrease in vaginal gas using a pessary. It is a device that is placed inside the vagina to treat prolapse of the pelvic organs.

Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises are an activity aimed at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. They consist of contracting these muscles several times a day. It is as if the woman is sitting on a marble and trying to pick it up. Also, they are similar to trying to stop urinating.

These exercises are recommended for all women, regardless of age or conditions. It is not necessary to have been a mother to do them. They can help reduce the incidence of numerous pathologies, such as prolapse or urinary incontinence.

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Remember, vaginal gas is a natural thing

It is true that in some cases vaginal gases can be associated with a pathology. However, beyond this, it is important to understand that they are physiological and normal. It is necessary to try to avoid that this situation produces modesty or discomfort.

In any case, if there are doubts or discomfort, it is always essential to consult a specialist. However, the most relevant thing regarding these flatulence is to promote communication and trust so that they do not become a problem in the sexual life of women.