How to Stop Vaginal Farts
Josie is my noisy friend. She’s a Hatha Yoga addict, and sometimes she does asanas in the back of the class while the rest of us are listening to the day’s lecture. She may be behind us, but we all know what she is doing. We can HEAR her. She’s not talking while she’s in her poses, at least not with those lips. It’s usually when she’s in an inverted posture that it bounces out long and loud. “Pfffffggggsshhht!” And I do mean loud.
Josie is a beautiful, self-confident extrovert. She doesn’t mind her natural body noises. For her, they’re just another reason to smile. I admire that about her. For me, the slip of a yoga queef is embarrassing, and it’s definitely something I’d really rather avoid.
So how does one prevent a vaginal fart? Let’s start at the beginning.
What causes vaginal farting?
The walls of the vagina are able to expand and collapse. That’s how we can push a baby through there – and how we can make that baby. The rectum can expand and collapse too, but it has a ring of muscle tissue around it at the anus called a sphincter that can effectively shut off the opening. That’s how we squeeze in a fart when we’re in a socially unacceptable place to pass gas, like on a first date or in the middle of a church sermon. The vagina doesn’t have a sphincter. When it expands it pulls in air, and that air gets expelled when the vagina again collapses without any valve to stop the flow.
There are a few things that can make the vagina expand and then collapse causing a queefing noise. The most common is sex. The pumping action of a penis pushing air into a vagina that’s in the mood to be accommodating is the usual culprit. Exercise, and specifically yoga, is also an extremely common reason. Sometimes women with poor posture and weak pelvic floor muscles have vaginas that like to expand and collapse all the time in the most inappropriate places.
What yoga postures are most likely to cause a vaginal fart?
Any asana that puts you upside down into an inverted position has the potential to make your vagina noisy. The most common culprit is sarvangasana, the shoulder stand.
When your legs go up in the air, gravity causes things to shift around inside your body. The abdominal and pelvic organs move towards your head, and this can create a vacuum that sucks air into the vaginal opening. If you widen the vaginal opening by spreading your legs, the chances of pulling air in increases. Any air that goes in must come back out.
Besides sarvangasana, sirsasana (the head stand) and halasana (the plow pose) are two other postures that have the potential to make a vagina sing, but any inverted posture can do it.
What can a gal do in those postures to prevent a yoga queef?
Keeping yur legs together as much as possible to limit the size of the vaginal opening is one option.
Another is to do ashwini mudra, the yogic term for squeezing the anus. Yeah, I know, it’s the wrong hole. But it works.data-header=”false”>
Ashwini mudra is generally said to mean contraction of the anal sphincter, but there’s another muscle that forms an anal sling, the puborectalis, and full contraction of this muscle of the pelvic floor pulls tissue in towards the vagina. I don’t mean the gluteus muscles here. Don’t contract your whole butt. (Please see Mula Bandha: Yoga’s Advanced Kegel Exercises for an in-depth review of the anatomy of the pelvic floor.)
Once you get the hang of the right contractions, you may hold them throughout the duration of the pose. In the yogic literature, ashwini mudra is performed to block the downward flow of energy, the apana vayu, and is classically added to many poses to increase the value of the asana.
What should a gal NOT do to prevent vaginal farting?
Avoid doing full pelvic floor muscle contractions, otherwise known as Kegel exercises, during inverted postures. In yogic terms, Kegel exercises are known as mula bandha (sometimes spelled moolah bandha).
During the classic performance of mula bandha, the entire pelvic floor is pulled up towards your head. This can cause more air to be sucked in. We don’t want that, because then it will come back out, and it will probably make noise when it does.
Some teachers consider ashwini mudra to be a part of mula bandha. According to Swami Buddhananda, the author of Moola Bandha: The Master Key, in mula bandha there is no contraction of the muscles surrounding the anus. He says mula bandha is the contraction of the perineum, the region neither too far in front nor in the rear. The buttocks, thighs and abdomen are relaxed.
Also, please do not insert a tampon when you are not menstruating simply to avoid a little embarrassment. The tampon will absorb your natural vaginal secretions, drying out the mucosa and possibly causing it to have microscopic tears. It probably won’t help that much anyway. Air can come and go around it.
What can be done over the long term to stop vaginal farts?
Over the long haul, Kegel exercises can help to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor, the muscles that support the pelvic organs. Having strong muscles has more benefits than simply stopping an excess of vaginal farts. Kegel exercises have been shown to ease childbirth, decrease the incidence of urinary incontinence with age, and to improve a woman’s ability to orgasm.
To learn to do Kegel exercises, check out this link form the National Institutes of Health.
To begin, place a finger in the vagina and pull in the surrounding muscles to feel a tightening around your finger. That’s the pelvic floor muscles contracting. Hold for 10 seconds. Release the contraction for 10 seconds, and then contract them again for 10 seconds. Do 10 consecutive contractions at least three times a day. You can do these exercises anywhere, even adding them during some asanas. Try them when waiting in line at the grocery store or while sitting in class listening to a lecture.
There are also vaginal eggs and cones that are weights which can be inserted into the vagina. Contraction of the pelvic floor muscles is required when you are upright in order to keep the weight inside. You should aim to retain the egg for at least 15 minutes three times per day. Gradually, you can increase the weight of the egg.
It will take at least 6-12 weeks of Kegel exercises to see results, and by 6 months you should be in great shape down there.
The vagina is a tube that’s been designed to expand to let things in (like penises) and to let things out (like babies). There’s no control valve, no sphincter, to prevent the release of air that sometime gets pushed or sucked inside. The best you can do is to limit the size of the vaginal opening during inverted postures by keeping the legs together and contracting the anal sphincter and puborectalis. Over the long term, strengthening the pelvic floor musculature can decrease vaginal farting as well as provide other great benefits like facilitating childbirth, enhancing orgasm, and decreasing the chance of having a leaky bladder later in life.
The best advice, in addition to following the above suggestions, is to take a note from my friend, Josie, and to think of vaginal farting as natural and fun instead of embarrassing. Yoga, after all, is there to help us get past our egos and to go beyond.