If there is one subject few people discuss, passing gas just might be it. Don’t let your embarrassment keep you from staying healthy.

Intestinal gas is completely normal, and it goes unnoticed until it is passed through your mouth as a burp or your rectum as flatulence. The problem is when passing gas becomes excessive or overly foul-smelling. How can you tell if gas is just an inconvenience or a sign that something more serious is happening?

Does your gas occur after eating?

Many common and healthy foods produce gas. These include beans, sodas and other carbonated drinks, sugar substitutes such as sorbitol and other artificial sweeteners, milk and dairy products, cabbage, bran and pasta. Having gas after eating these foods is perfectly normal. But, if you have places to go after eating that might not be conducive to passing gas, skip these menu items.

iStock, NoDerog

A group of various types of both artificial and natural sweeteners including Splenda, Sweet n Low, Equal, Truvia, Stevia in the Raw, and plain sugar. All items are in single serve paper packets.

On the other hand, if your gas is particularly bad after eating foods such as these, you may have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

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