Are Your Digestion Problems Worse Than You Thought?

Rate your digestion with this simple quiz from Reader's Digest's new book, 21-Day Tummy.

Reader’s Digest Association

How would you classify your digestion problems? Maybe you feel bloated, get acid reflux, or become crampy and gaseous after eating. These observations are important, but let’s go a step further and quantify.

Too often, many of us think our digestive symptoms are normal, so we just live with the discomfort. For years, I accepted my own symptoms as just a normal part of being me. As the years went by and my issues worsened, I knew it was time for change. The following quiz is very quick and will help you rate your digestion. If you experience severe digestive problems (such as intense pain or passing blood or mucus, which could be the sign of several serious illnesses), see your doctor!

Add one point if you answer YES to each of the following questions:
1. Do you have heartburn more than once a month?

2. Do you have heartburn once a week or more?

3. Do you have a bowel movement everyday? If yes, here add zero points.

4. Do you have a bowel movement fewer than five times a week?

5. Do you have loose stools or diarrhea about once a week?

6. Do you have loose stools or diarrhea almost every day?

7. Are your stools hard and dry more than once a month?

8. Are your stools hard and dry once a week or more?

9. Do you feel bloated (exclude menstrual bloat) more than twice a month?

10. Do you feel bloated (exclude menstrual bloat) more than once a week?

11. Do you experience stomach pain (exclude menstrual pain) more than once a month?

12. Do you experience stomach pain (exclude menstrual pain) more than once a week?

13. At least 75 percent of the time, are your stools generally like the following: in one piece, snakelike, and easy to pass? If yes, here add zero points.

14. Do you experience foul-smelling gas on most days (think rotten-egg caliber)?

15. Do you experience an increase in gas as the day progresses?


0–4 points: Congratulations! Your digestion seems to be in good working order. There may be room for improvement, but overall, your GI tract is in decent to great shape. You can still benefit from the 21-Day Tummy diet though, to help keep your digestion humming along and to trim belly inches.

5–8 points: Your digestion needs a little help. Sometimes it’s on the right track and you feel healthy, and sometimes you have problems that cause discomfort or embarrassment. These smallish upsets can lead to bigger problems down the road if you don’t deal with them now. Time for the 21-Day Tummy diet!

9–15 points: Ouch! Your digestion is hurting, which means you are, too. You found the 21-Day Tummy diet just in time. This plan will help you feel better fast—and will help you flatten your belly.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Liz Vaccariello
Liz Vaccariello is the Editor-in-Chief of Parents magazine, the 2.2 million rate-base title. In addition, she is currently the Group Editorial Director for Parents Latina and Meredith's lifestyle titles including Shape, Real Simple, InStyle, Martha Stewart Living, and Health. Vaccariello has led many of the media industry's most recognizable brands, developing content across print, digital and social channels. Prior to joining Meredith, Vaccariello held numerous executive editorial roles including serving as the Chief Content Officer for Reader's Digest. She has also served as Editor-in-Chief of Rachael Ray Every Day; Editor-in-Chief of Prevention; Executive Editor of Fitness; and Editor-in-Chief of Cleveland Magazine. Vaccariello regularly appears on national broadcast media including The Today Show, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, and Dr. Oz. She is the author of nine best-selling books, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Flat Belly Diet! She has received numerous awards and honors over her distinguished career and is a frequent speaker at major summits presented by the MPA, Folio, MIN, and Digiday among others. Vaccariello, who is the parent of twin daughters, earned a BA in Communications with Distinction from the University of Michigan and lives in New Jersey with her family.