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OMG, I queefed during yoga class

Yes, it's embarrassing, but it's nothing to be ashamed of. Not sure what a queef is? It goes by many names including vart and vaginal fart, but it most definitely is not the same thing as a fart. A queef is the result of a trapped pocket of air getting pushed out of your vagina and making a (sometimes loud) fart-like sound.

The cause

First off, there is nothing wrong medically—there are zero health consequences of queefing. Some women are more susceptible to having air trapped in their vagina than others, including women with a weakened pelvic floor (pregnancy and childbirth naturally loosen these muscles), wide hips or during her menstrual cycle. 

While you may be familiar with queefing caused by sex, it is also quite common during exercise, particularly yoga and Pilates. Essentially air enters the vaginal canal during an inverted pose (think downward dog, bridge, shoulder stand, etc.) and is pushed out as you move into another pose and draw your navel toward your spine. 

The solutions:

  1. Engage the pelvic floor muscles (the muscles surrounding the anus and vagina) when moving into the yoga or Pilates pose and keep them engaged throughout the pose. This should help prevent air from entering your vagina.
  2. Strengthen your pelvic floor by practicing Kegel exercise outside of your group classes. The nice thing about Kegel exercises, is you can do them anywhere, anytime.
  3. Stop doing the queef-causing poses during group class. Instead practice these poses in the privacy of your home or do a variation on the pose. People abstain from poses in a group class for various reasons (menstrual time, injury, etc.). No one needs to know why you chose not to do a particular pose.
  4. Practice group yoga outside a studio setting. During warmer weather try an outdoor yoga class—the ambient noise may make it more difficult for others to hear your body noises. Another option is to try water yoga, practiced in chest- or belly button-depth water.
  5. Laugh it off. After all, queefing is a natural and common occurrence. If you feel comfortable enough in the class, laugh and simply move on.

I have heard of some women using a tampon, even when it is not during her menstrual cycle, to help stop incidents of queefing during exercise. I would strongly caution against this method as it has the potential to lead to toxic shock syndrome.

Sometimes, no matter what you do, your body is going to do things you didn't intend—like when you laugh and a little urine escapes, or your stomach growls (loudly) during a meeting or queefing during bridge pose. It is simply part of life. The woman next to you likely understands and has been there herself. The important thing is to not let the possibility of embarrassment hold you back from doing what you love.

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