Since You Asked – Weekly Q & A
Do you have a question you’ve been dying to ask, but didn’t know who to turn to? Well, now you do. The National Women’s Health Network has established a weekly Q & A column where you can ask questions on a variety of topics. Those topics include contraception, abortion, sexual health, menopause & menopause hormone therapy, osteoporosis, obesity, and some aspects of heart disease. Each week we will feature a new question. See this week’s question below.
To view past questions, check out our Since You Asked Archives.
What we are able to provide:
- A feminist perspective on current issues in women’s health
- Evidence-based research on the risks and benefits of certain drugs and procedures
- Information on available treatment options
What we are not able to provide:
- Give medical advice
- Physician referrals
- Financial assistance in paying for health care
- Information on general health topics
Please note: Questions submitted will not be answered personally, and not all questions submitted will be answered. If your question is selected, you will be notified via email. Before you submit your question, search our website to see if you find the answer to your question. Your answer might be found in a fact sheet, newsletter article or on one of our advocacy pages. NWHN can provide you with accessible and accurate health information; however, we are not medically licensed professionals and thus cannot provide medical diagnostic or treatment advice.
Weekly Column – Valentine’s Day Questions: It’s Not Awkward, It’s Your Body!
This Valentine’s Day, NWHN is bringing you a special extended edition of Since You Asked to address questions you might be thinking about but too afraid to ask. Remember that your health comes first!
Q: Why does my vagina make weird noises during and after sex?
A: What you are experiencing (sometimes colloquially called “queefing”) is when air gets gets trapped into a pocket of the vagina and subsequently pushed out. A common misconception about queefing is that it is “vagina farting,” but queefing and farting are caused by completely different bodily functions. Farting occurs due to bacterial activity in the gut, but queefing has nothing to do with bacteria. You may notice that queefs have no smell, and that’s because they are a result of air getting pushed out of the vagina.
The vagina is not a straight tube, and it actually has little folds called rugae in which air can be trapped. The reason queefing happens more frequently during sex is because penetration (from a penis, sex toy, fingers, etc) can push air into the rugae. The vagina also expands when you are turned on, which leaves even more room for the air to be trapped. This is a completely normal phenomenon with no health consequences, and while the sound of air being pushed out of your vagina may be awkward, it’s really just air.
Q: What can I do to prevent urinary tract infections? Are they connected to sex?
A: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) happen when any part of your urinary system is infected, usually caused by bacteria. There are two types of UTIs: cystitis and urethritis, and the one most commonly associated with sex is cystitis. You do not need to be sexually active to contract a UTI, but they occur more frequently in those who engage in sexual intercourse. UTIs are usually treated by antibiotics, and failure to treat the infection can lead to serious consequences in the kidneys.
You should always empty your bladder after intercourse to wash out any bacteria, and drink water to make sure all of it gets flushed out of your urinary tract. Many people contract UTIs because of failure to flush out this bacteria. You may have been advised to drink cranberry juice as a preventative measure, but there actually isn’t proof that this cures a UTI. It was originally thought that the acidity of the juice would raise your immunity to a UTI, but there actually isn’t a big change in pH level from cranberry products. What does help is drinking lots of water to dilute your urine and keep flushing out bacteria that can cause an infection.
Other preventative measures include wiping front to back (which prevents bacteria from the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra) and avoiding the use of douches and powders that may irritate the urethra. Love may be in the air this Valentine’s Day, but make sure you’re putting safety first.
Q: Can I still get pregnant if I have sex during my period?
A: Yes, you can still get pregnant while having unprotected sex on your period. The odds of conception are significantly lower during this time, but if you are not planning on getting pregnant you should use a contraceptive method. You are the least fertile during the first 2-3 days of your period, but towards the end of your period, your chances will increase.
You are most likely to get pregnant while you are ovulating as the egg is released from the ovary. Some people can experience spotting or irregular vaginal bleeding during ovulation, which could be mistaken for the beginning of a period. Having unprotected sex during this time dramatically increases your chances of getting pregnant. Everyone’s cycle differs in length, so the best way to know your ovulation pattern is to track the number of days between your periods. This can help with knowing when you are most fertile if you want to have a baby.
If you aren’t planning on pregnancy, make sure to use a contraceptive method that is best for you. Check out NWHN’s Trusted Resources page for more information on different contraceptives methods, as well as our fact sheet on Long Acting Reproductive Contraceptives (LARCs).
We hope that no matter how you’re spending Valentine’s Day this year, you’re in a safe and healthy environment. Didn’t see your question on this week’s column? Submit a question here.
The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only.