Endometriosis is a disease that effects 1 in 10 women and can often give sufferers extremely debilitating symptoms which can leave them bed-bound for days. Around 1.5 million people in the UK are currently living with the condition.
Endometriosis is a long-term condition where cells, similar to the ones in the lining of the womb, are found elsewhere in the body. Each month these cells react in the same way to those lining the womb, building up and then breaking down and bleeding. Unlike the cells in the womb that leave the body as a period, this blood has no way to escape. This can cause inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.
The impact of endometriosis can vary significantly from person to person, with some having none or limited symptoms and others having very severe symptoms that impacts their dayto-day life. Symptoms may be intermittent or continual and could include:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Painful periods
- Bladder and bowel problems
- Difficulty getting pregnant
The average diagnosis time in the UK is currently 8 years, and many will experience some of the above symptoms for a significant amount of time before receiving a formal diagnosis.
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Business Growth Hub have signed up to become the first Endometriosis Friendly Employer in the county (April 2022).
The scheme is a not only lifeline for employees worrying about limited pay due to absence and the impact on their careers, but also will save businesses who sign up to the scheme in the long run.
By signing up to the Endometriosis Friendly Employer scheme through Endometriosis UK, Cumbria Chamber has made a commitment to develop a work environment and culture that enables employees with endometriosis to be able to work comfortably more of the time. The scheme provides guidance to employers on how to support employees with the disease, with support in leadership and management, tackling stigma and changing culture and communicating with employees with the condition.
Alongside this significant impact on sufferers themselves, endometriosis costs employers £8.2billion each year in treatment, loss of work and healthcare costs.
Endometriosis UK have produced a range of resources for employers dealing with staff suffering from Endometriosis:
- You can read an overview of the legal situation here.
- Hints and tips for employees on dealing with employers here.
- Information on your rights as an employee here.
- Employer Friendly scheme information here.
The Chamber has also appointed their own Endometriosis Champion, Elaine Rémy who is a longstanding friend and member of the Chamber and the Endometriosis UK Cumbria Support Group Leader. As a Champion, Elaine is there for Chamber staff to turn to for support and information relating to the disease, and will also be supporting the Chamber in encouraging other businesses to sign up. Elaine has been campaigning for support for sufferers for some time.
Elaine, who has severe endometriosis, said: “I’m delighted that the Cumbria Chamber has become the first Endometriosis Friendly Employer in the county. They have shown great empathy with the many employees in Cumbria who have the disease and are leading by example.
“I hope many more businesses in the area will follow suit and commit to supporting staff who have the condition by developing an environment that enables them to be heard and helped so they can thrive at work.”
Details of the Cumbria Support Group can also be found
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org