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15 Mar 2022

Making endometriosis support part of your employee benefits

Endometriosis sufferers lose up to 20 work days a year. A few amendments to your employee benefits can go a long way in providing endometriosis support at work

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For a condition that’s about as common as diabetes, endometriosis is often overlooked, with many employers unsure of the effect it can have on their workforce. Here, we look at how endometriosis could be impacting your employees, why endometriosis support should be part of your employee benefits and how to easily provide it. 

The effects of endo

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue lining the womb starts to grow in other parts of the abdomen, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. It is very common, affecting one in 10 women or people with a uterus – about the same frequency as diabetes. The most common symptoms are period pain that interferes with day-to-day life, pain during or after sex, and difficulty getting pregnant. These symptoms often leave sufferers bedridden during flare-ups, or forced to work through tremendous pain. In many cases, this chronic pain leads to depression or other mental health struggles. Research into endometriosis and its impact on an individual's ability to work is limited, but some studies estimate that as many as 20 workdays a year are missed due to endo-related symptoms, treatment, or recovery. 

This has the potential to affect a large number of your workers. Despite how common endo is, it still takes eight years on average to receive a diagnosis following the onset of symptoms. This is due to a variety of factors, such as a lack of gynae health knowledge (even among doctors) and myths around painful periods being the norm.

How can employee benefits target endo? 

As an employer, endo affects your company in several ways, concerning your duty to offer work adjustments, statutory sick pay and flexible working. In the UK, any chronic condition that impacts someone’s ability to fulfil their day-to-day tasks is entitled to protection under the Equality Act. This makes endo care an important aspect of any employer’s health plan, on a par with other chronic health conditions or disabilities. But what does endo-focused healthcare look like, and how can you provide it? 

There are several ways endometriosis care can factor into your employee benefits. Given that diagnosis and treatment of endo is often a complicated process, offering a solution that educates employees on gynaecological health and possible symptoms of a deeper issue is one factor. Next, providing access to online physicians or gynaecologists who specialise in endometriosis and other chronic gynae health conditions can drastically cut down on waiting times for seeing doctors in person, and potentially having to wait for years before receiving diagnosis or proper treatment. 

Since endometriosis is a life-long condition, continued support will be needed long after diagnosis. Offering access to therapists to help with the mental health aspect of the condition, or nutritionists and dieticians who specialise in gyane health conditions, can be pivotal in retaining talent and keeping a happy and healthy workforce. Fertility support is another element of endometriosis that often gets overlooked in traditional health plans, but also relates to a variety of health conditions. Endometriosis has the potential to lead to infertility and often complicates conception. Prioritising this aspect of gynae health will also let your employees know that you care about their wellbeing and future outside of the office.

A few amendments to your employee benefits can go a long way in providing endometriosis support at work.

Article provided by Syrona

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