Have you ever been in a yoga class, doing downward dog, just to switch positions and have the loudest and most embarrassing noise come out? Except this time it’s not from the backside, but from your vag?
You may have heard it called a queef, or vaginal flatulence, but regardless, it’s not ideal and may prevent you from performing a lot of those fun upside down poses! Luckily, we can help.
What is a queef?
Queefing happens when air gets pulled in and then expelled from the vaginal canal. This can happen with a weak pelvic floor, a tight pelvic floor, a prolapse, or poor pressure management strategies in the abdominal cavity.
What does the pelvic floor have to do with it?
Tightness and/or weakness in the pelvic floor allows more air to get pulled in and then when those muscles try to activate with position changes or an increase in intra abdominal pressure, the air gets pushed out forcefully, creating a sound like a fart (except this one has no smell to it).
When the pelvic floor muscles are tight, they function similarly to a weak pelvic floor. When moving towards an upside down position, like with downward dog, air naturally gets pulled into the vaginal canal. However, with a tight or a weak pelvic floor, more air than is normal gets sucked in. Once you switch positions, a tight or a weak pelvic floor has a hard time controlling the movement and will not be able to prevent the noise from happening.
Things like constipation, pelvic organ prolapse, hysterectomy, and/or a recent vaginal birth can all make queefing worse. So there may be many factors contributing to your vaginal music performance in your yoga class.
So what can you do to stop queefing?
First of all, we need a thorough evaluation and assessment from a trained pelvic floor physical therapist to determine the root cause of the issue. Are the muscles tight, weak, or uncoordinated? Are there any contributing factors that could be causing this?
We also need to develop more control and awareness of the pelvic floor and the entire pressure management system. In order to retrain this, it’s best to work with a pelvic health specialist with experience in this realm. Unfortunately, your YouTube videos or Peloton workouts are probably not going to cut it.
When working with a pelvic floor physical therapist to address queefing, you’ll need a combination of lengthening and relaxation, strengthening, and retraining the coordination of the pelvic floor muscles. We also need to manage any contributing factors like constipation, prolapse, and potential hormonal changes (like with ovulation, postpartum perimenopause, and menopause).
Ultimately, we need to develop greater tone and strength of the pelvic floor so we can prevent that air from getting sucked in and forcefully pushed out.
What about yoga? How can you get back to downward dog without worry?
We have to retrain those positions too! We start by working the pelvic floor in various positions and making sure you can get into your starting position without excess air getting sucked in. Once you can do that, we start to work on getting you out of that position without worry or issue.
Just like anything else, we need to take a gradual, systematic approach, led by a trained pelvic health specialist so you can have the greatest success!
Curious to learn a little bit more about how to stop queefing in your next yoga class or all things pelvic health? Schedule your FREE 10-minute consult call today ✨
Be empowered in education,
OrthoPelvic Physical Therapy