From endometriosis to PMDD, menstrual health issues are often woefully misunderstood by employers. But what happens when this costs you your job? Sarah Graham investigates…
“I worked really hard, went to uni and got a first, then did my masters and got a distinction. I climbed the career ladder, bought my own property, and I was working my way up to management. But then endometriosis took over my life, and work just didn’t get it,” says 33-year-old Bridie Apple, a former program manager in the charity sector, who now runs her own yoga business, Flow. Grow. Glow.
Like 1.5 million women in the UK, Bridie suffers from endometriosis, a condition where cells like the lining of the womb (the endometrium) are found elsewhere in the body, usually around other pelvic organs like the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder and bowl. It causes heavy, painful periods, chronic pelvic pain and fatigue, and can lead to infertility, as well as bladder and bowel issues.
A survey published this week by Standard Life also found that women living with endometriosis typically miss out on more than £40,000 in lost earnings while waiting for a diagnosis – which takes 7.5 years on average.