Endometriosis at work
How to cope with endometriosis in the workplace - for employees, employers and colleagues
Be mindful of your symptoms
- Check your knowledge of the main symptoms with our endometriosis quiz.
- You might find it helpful to track the frequency and severity of your symptoms with our endometriosis symptoms diary (PDF,0.4MB)
- Try to pace yourself when symptoms worsen, and rest when you can. Trying to carry on could simply lead to further problems.
- Keep a supply of your endometriosis self-help remedies at work. Besides painkillers, depending on your job you may be able to use a hot water bottle or heat pad.
How Bupa can support you with endometriosis
We understand that it can be challenging to get a diagnosis and support for endometriosis. But we offer a range of options, whether you’re a Bupa member or not.
You’re under no obligation to tell anyone at work about your condition. However, if you feel that asking for repeated time off work is becoming uncomfortable, it may be better if someone in your workplace knows about it. That could be your boss or someone in HR, for example.
If you do feel able to talk about endometriosis more widely, opening up could help to promote wider understanding and support for yourself and other colleagues who may also have the condition.
If your endometriosis symptoms prevent you from working, you have the same rights as with any other illness.
You’re entitled to self-certify yourself from work in the event of a short period. You’d only need to talk to your GP if you think you’ll need to be off from work for longer than seven consecutive days. In that case, they may provide you with a 'statement of fitness to work’, which can give your employer information about any adaptations that might help you to attend work − or, if you’re unable to attend work, for however long that might be for.
Endometriosis is not classed as a disability in the UK. However, it is a chronic condition, which means it’s long-lasting, can be managed but can’t be cured, and can limit your quality of life. The more people who talk openly about endometriosis, the greater understanding we can build as a society.
Endometriosis is often characterised by 'flare-ups’. These are periods of time when your symptoms suddenly worsen, or new ones develop. These can be debilitatingly painful and are therefore likely to affect your ability to work.
Our tips are to use heat, rest, take medication, reduce any stress, adapt your routine, and record your symptoms and treatments. There’s more in our helpful endometriosis flare up infographic.
Endometriosis UK is the country’s leading charity for people with endometriosis. They launched the Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme, whereby organisations commit to understanding the condition and providing support for employees who have it.
When a workplace signs up to be an Endometriosis Friendly Employer, among other things this means:
- They receive regular newsletters highlighting best practice and keeping them up to date with endometriosis news.
- They can participate in the 'Endometriosis Champions’ scheme, with an induction webinar and regular updates.
- They get a copy of the book Endometriosis: The Experts' Guide to Treat, Manage and Live Well With Your Symptoms.
Resources offering information and support for endometriosis in the workplace
We recognise that endometriosis is a particularly challenging condition, and it can be hard to find information and support. So here are some websites that could help, whether you’re an employee living with endometriosis, a colleague or an employer.
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