Endometriosis can be a difficult condition for those that experience it. Up to one in ten women will be affected by the disease in their lifetime, so it’s important to understand what it is and how it can affect day-to-day life. This does, of course, include within the workplace, where certain expectations of working life might be more difficult to meet for those living with endometriosis. We’ll be going into what endometriosis is, how it is treated, and how those that suffer with it can make their working life easier. This is, of course, just a basic guide – for more in-depth advice and treatment visit a gynaecologist near you. There are many great clinics with a skilled gynaecologist London women (and those working in cities across the UK) can visit for more information.
What is endometriosis?
As specified on the official NHS page for endometriosis, the condition can affect women of any age, so it’s important for all of us to be aware of how it might affect our lives or the lives of those we are close to. It causes tissue which is usually only found in the lining of the womb to grow elsewhere in the body. This includes around the ovaries and fallopian tubes, which can be particularly painful for the women experiencing it.
Signs and symptoms
There are many symptoms of endometriosis, some more severe than others. This includes pain, in varying amounts, that is usually felt in the stomach/back/pelvis. Endometriosis can also cause difficulties with bowel and bladder functionality, feelings of sickness and fatigue, and menstrual bleeding that is heavier and more painful than usual. More detailed information on the symptoms of Endometriosis can be found on the website of Endometriosis UK: https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/endometriosis-symptoms
What can an employer do to help?
Obviously the way in which endometriosis will affect an individual varies depending on what they do for work, but there will always be changes and allowances an employer can consider to make life easier. The first, most important thing is that employers educate themselves on the condition, even if they don’t currently have an employee who has mentioned they suffer with endometriosis. This means they will be prepared in the likely instance that someone with the disease mentions this in the future. There are also more practical considerations that employers can make to ensure working life is comfortable for endometriosis sufferers. For example, they can consider implementing a medical certificate allowance policy, wherein those with the condition do not have to go back to their doctor for certification each time. Employers might also think about making certain allowances for those with endometriosis, for example, modified working hours or an option to work from home on some days when they are experiencing more pain. These changes should be discussed in cohesion with other health and safety policies.
As well as having physical effects, endometriosis can take its toll on mental health, and many sufferers feel awkward discussing it. As an employer, it’s therefore incredibly important to make sure you encourage open discussions around mental health and emotions in your working environment. More information relating to the emotional effects of Endometriosis can be found here: https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/endometriosis/emotions.