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How I Managed Endometriosis in the Workplace: Part 1

Coping with endometriosis in the workplace is probably one of the most stressful and challenging parts of living with the condition. Unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness, or even discrimination, many of us have had to face disciplinaries (myself included) or have even lost their jobs. In a large number of cases, it can all come down to the type of management, team, or even company you’re working for, but there are also things you can do to make your life easier at work when it comes to managing endometriosis. I have experienced both worlds; I’ve had a supportive environment with understanding employers and quite the polar opposite too.

In this two-part series, I’ll be exploring how I worked with my previous employer to create a happy and productive work environment, even with endometriosis.

I spoke to an expert

I was lucky to work in a charity that worked to support marginalized communities, including those with mental health issues and invisible illnesses, so to a degree, I was protected by the fact that we were a pretty ethical company. Even so, I didn’t really know what my rights were. One day, we had an expert come in to run some training on equality and disabilities, I approached him at the end to ask him about rights in the workplace around endometriosis. He was incredibly helpful and his advice ensured I proceeded to get support in the correct way. Of course, this was rare circumstance, and one not everyone has access to, so my advice would be to download Endometriosis UK’s information on endometriosis in the workplace (or your country’s leading charity) or speak to an employee assistance line or an expert like See Her Thrive.

I asked for help

The next thing I did, was to be honest. Most of my team knew I had endometriosis and that it had returned, but I was trying to grin and bear it for quite some time. Once I decided something needed to be done, I spoke to my manager to work it out with her. I explained that my endometriosis seemed to be worsening, and that the first day or two of my period was so bad I found myself struggling to get home or even sit at my desk chair. I asked for help and together we worked out what needed to be done. It began with working from home on the first two days of my period, and eventually led to being able to start and finish earlier when I needed to, and having one day a week to work from home. Whilst in all honesty, I felt like I needed to be signed off, having that constant support from my manager and that freedom pass to leave when I needed, was huge.

In my next article, I’ll be talking about how my employers appreciated my willingness to feel and do better at work, and when I recognized the need for change. How do you manage endometriosis in the workplace?

Read Part 2 here

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.