Time to talk about the sensitive stuff: Endometriosis

April 4, 2023
Lizzie Hayes

Endometriosis impacts 1 in 10 people. Despite it being the second most common gynaecological condition in the UK, it still takes an average of 7.5 years to get diagnosed.

The main symptom of endometriosis is severe abdominal pain. That's 1 in 10 who are experiencing severe pain on a regular basis, for an average of 7.5 years before being told what may be causing it. Cool 👍

A survey by Standard Life saw that 1 in 6 gave up work due to endometriosis, whilst others had to take up to 20 days of sick leave each year because of these (often debilitating) symptoms.

There's still not enough awareness around endometriosis

To create a diverse workforce and ensure equal access to opportunities, it's crucial for employers to pay attention to conditions like endometriosis. 95% of people with endometriosis say that it has a negative impact on their wellbeing and over 80% of people say that it negatively impacts their mental health.

Each person's experience with endometriosis is unique, but unless you've experienced something like endometriosis yourself, or you're close to someone who has, it can be difficult to understand the impact it can have on an individual.

To make things a bit easier, we've put together the four most important things you should know about endometriosis, no matter who you are.

1. Anyone who ovulates can be impacted by endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the womb (the endometrium) grows in the wrong place. Endometriosis can be found outside of the womb, in or on the ovaries or in the fallopian tubes. It can also be found in the muscles of the womb and on other organs in the abdomen. It is sometimes even found in places like the lungs and nose!

There is a common misconception that endometriosis only impacts people in their 20’s and 30’s, but this is probably because it takes such a long time to get diagnosed. You can start experiencing endometriosis symptoms as young as 13 or 14 years old or once you first start your period.

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October 2020 APPG report on Endometriosis

2. The main symptom of endometriosis is severe abdominal pain

This pain can occur during your periods, during sex, and when going to the toilet. The other symptoms are bloating, gastrointestinal pain, urological pain and it can impact your fertility.

Endometriosis pain can often prevent someone from carrying out normal day-to-day activities and it can’t be be treated with your standard over-the-counter pain medication. If you're experiencing this and you're a Fertifa patient, get in touch with your Patient Advisor who can help. Or if you're not, we'd recommend contacting your GP to talk about it.

3. There's no cure for endometriosis

179 million worldwide are affected by endometriosis! But unfortunately, there is still no cure for the condition. At the moment, the only treatment available is to manage the symptoms. Endometriosis is a chronic pain condition, but not legally considered a disability.

If you're committed to being an inclusive employer, it's important to consider carefully how you will support team members who may suffer from endometriosis. This could be flexible working, a menstrual leave policy or on-demand access to clinical experts in women's health and 1-2-1 wellbeing support from a provider like Fertifa 🙃

4. Endometriosis is known to impact fertility too, as it can damage your fallopian tubes

Fallopian tubes are the organs that takes an egg from the ovary to the uterus and damage to these can mean that the egg is blocked from travelling down to the uterus preventing someone becoming pregnant. Unfortunately, up to 50% of IVF cycles in the UK are carried out for people with endometriosis.

This does not mean that half of people with endometriosis will need IVF to conceive, however, it is important to be aware of this if you think you might have symptoms so you can plan ahead accordingly.

Our mission at Fertifa is to make reproductive health accessible to everyone

Book in a call with our team if you’re looking to prioritise gender diversity in your workplace by supporting people through health challenges like endometriosis.

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