First published

Mar 18, 2022

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Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women. What is it & how can employers help?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition that affects one in 10 people born with a womb. It occurs when excess tissue grows inside the body and attaches to organs, this often leads to debilitating pain alongside bladder and bowel dysfunctions. Symptoms vary from person to person, with some experiencing bouts of agony akin to having a heart attack. Understandably, for many people – living with this condition can make working difficult.

It’s likely that some of the people you know, and work with, are living with endometriosis. Even if they’ve never heard of it.

One of the key symptoms of endometriosis is monthly bleeding accompanied by pain. Something that 50% of the population experience for a big chunk of their lives. However, endometriosis related bleeding tends to be very heavy, and endometriosis pain tends to be very bad – it can go on for weeks at a time, and it’s unlikely that painkillers will help. The notion that period pain is ‘normal’ means that people tend to wait two or three years from the onset of symptoms before seeking medical advice. What's more, awareness of endometriosis and its symptoms are low, so people can be misdiagnosed for years. The condition tends to only be diagnosed and managed via keyhole surgery. Something that usually involves long waiting lists, and time off work to recover.

So as an employer, what can you do?

  • Recognise that talking about non-work related issues with your boss is often uncomfortable, and sometimes terrifying. Especially when it’s a conversation that involves your reproductive organs. Normalise health and wellbeing conversations by talking about endometriosis, share this article, and circulate information in the workplace to increase understanding for everyone.
  • Accept that living with a condition that is debilitating, misunderstood and even taboo to talk about can be stressful and upsetting. So make life easier, be flexible with your working arrangements. Blended working allows people to work from the comfort of their home on their most difficult days, instead of struggling through.
  • Show that you care. Create an environment and culture where people can thrive at work. Where possible, ensure sanitary products are freely available in your bathrooms, and – join us and many other employers – sign up for guidance and support from Endometriosis UK by pledging to become an Endometriosis Friendly Employer.


To find out more about the condition, and for ways to support the organisation visit www.endometriosis-uk.org

How can we support you?

Millions of people are living with hidden conditions such as endometriosis, insomnia, arthritis, crohn's disease and mental health challenges. Making simple changes, such as flexible working, can make life (and work) easier for everyone.

Introducing blended workplaces (combining working from home and the office) can feel daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re interested in supporting your people, but you’re not sure where to start – we can help.

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In just one hour we can help you to assess where you’re at, suggest new ways of working and talk through a few practical solutions

Book in for a complimentary support session

Post by Georgina Barrett

Image by Christina

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Wireless Economics is proud to be an endometriosis friendly employer

Contact Endometriosis UK today – find out what you can do for your people