Stomach bloating? THIS unlikely winter dessert could PREVENT constipation

Constipation is a common condition defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week.

It can also mean that you are unable to completely empty your bowel, or that stools are hard and lumpy, as well as unusually large or small.

According to the NHS, it can be caused by not eating enough fibre, certain medications, not drinking enough fluids, anxiety and ignoring the urge to pass stools.

While not usually a sign of anything serious, it can be very uncomfortable.

Symptoms of constipation include hard stools, straining to have a bowel movement, abdominal pain, nausea and bloating.

The NHS recommends changing your diet as one of the first things to try to combat it.

Increasing intake of fibre - such as from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains - can help.

It is recommended people consume 30g of fibre a day, according to the British Nutrition Foundation.

However, some foods can be particularly effective in helping relieve constipation.

Rhubarb - a vegetable commonly consumed in rhubarb crumble - has a laxative effect which can help stop symptoms.

But experts recommend it should only be used for a short period.

A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that it has anti-diarrhoeal effects - meaning it stops you needing the toilet as much if you suffer from diarrhoea - because of its tannin content.

Small lifestyle changes often means constipation will go away on its own, however there are certain occasions when you should seek medical attention for it.

This includes finding blood in your stool, severe abdominal pain, unexplained weight loss and having alternating constipation and diarrhoea.

Doctors can prescribe an oral laxative medication that helps you to empty your bowels.

It is important to not ignore symptoms since long-term constipation can cause haemorrhoids, faecal impaction, bowel incontinence, and in rare cases it could be a sign of cancer.