Managing endometriosis at work: Tips for self-care and increased productivity

Endometriosis flare-ups can be debilitating for people experiencing them. Having such flare-ups at work can reduce productivity and put one at risk of losing job security. Are there ways to manage endometriosis at work? Read on to find out.

A woman feeling sick at work with hands placed on her forehead and a laptop placed on a table in front of her

Key takeaways

  • Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when endometrial tissues, typically found in the lining of the uterus, grow outside the uterus.
  • Endometriosis is not considered a disability, and you can work with it. However, endometriosis symptoms can lead to absenteeism and reduced productivity at work.
  • Prioritizing self-care is very important in managing endometriosis flare-ups.
  • Proper management of symptoms at work can lead to increased productivity and achievement of daily goals.

Endometriosis is a disease characterized by the growth of endometrial tissues (tissues lining the inside of the uterus) outside the uterine cavity. Its symptoms include chronic pain, especially during menstruation and sexual intercourse, heavy and prolonged periods, gastrointestinal discomforts like diarrhea and constipation, and fatigue. 

Endometriosis symptoms may be severe for some individuals and can negatively impact their careers and quality of life.  Their participation in daily activities, educational achievement, sexual functioning, relationships, work productivity, and mental health may be unfavorably affected. This can make it hard for them to keep up with work tasks or achieve career goals, putting them at risk of losing their jobs.

Studies have shown that people with endometriosis miss more days of work when compared with those without the condition, resulting in a substantial loss of productivity. 

Having knowledge of some tips that can help you manage endometriosis symptoms at work is important in dealing with the work difficulties that come with endometriosis symptoms. 

Tips for managing endometriosis at work

Below are some tips that may help you manage your endometriosis symptoms at work and also help you achieve a healthy work-life balance:

1. Heat Application

The pain associated with endometriosis can be excruciating and deprives one of the energy to be at their best at work. Topical application of heat to the area of pain may help relieve pain by blocking the transmission of pain signals and increasing blood circulation to that area.

Having heat pads or hot water bottles at work can save you from the long episode of debilitating pain. It's advisable to use the pad or bottle once you notice the pain and not wait until the pain becomes intense. 

2. Use of pain-relieving drugs

The use of over-the-counter painkillers is a top management tip for endometriosis symptoms. Depending on your doctor's prescription, you may need to take pain relief medications routinely or only when necessary.

Having your pain-relieving drugs handy is very important for alleviating work-hour pains. Ensure you take the drugs as prescribed by your doctor.

3. Staying hydrated

Water is essential for every human, sick or healthy. Staying hydrated will keep the body functioning properly, thus positively influencing the body and improving the symptoms.

For people with endometriosis, warm water might be more beneficial than cold water. You might want to keep a water bottle at your desk and sip on it at work from time to time to help soothe the pain.

4. Taking breaks

Stress has been shown to aggravate endometriosis symptoms. Try as much as possible not to overwork yourself. Giving yourself some time off work in between working hours is very essential.

During your break time, you can take a walk down the street or in the workplace premises, have a nap, or engage yourself with something you love doing in your leisure time. This will help reduce the stress hormones in the body that can aggravate or exacerbate your symptoms.

5. Staggering your tasks

This entails arranging your tasks according to your level of energy or severity of symptoms.

You may not be able to accurately predict when the symptoms will occur or when they'll be severe, but paying attention to the time you experience the symptoms the most might help you allot specific tasks to specific times.

This way, you tackle the most challenging tasks when you are energized and not having flare-ups, leaving the less challenging ones for when you're less active due to the symptoms.

6. Prioritizing self-care

Self-care is important in managing the chronic pain, fatigue, and brain fog associated with endometriosis. Strategies such as getting enough rest, adequate sleep, eating healthy diets, and practicing stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises can help improve your energy level and alleviate endometriosis symptoms.

7. Seeking accommodation

Those with endometriosis may benefit from accommodations provided in countries like the United States. The American Disability Act (ADA) has some accommodations that include modification of the work environment to suit people with certain medical ailments, like providing a comfortable working table and chairs and adjusting the company policy to help the individuals keep to appointment dates and also benefit from flexible work schedules. 

Also, in places outside America, e.g., in the United Kingdom, there are accommodations provided by law for people with certain ailments. Ask about the accommodations available in your company, state, or country that you may benefit from.

8. Having a support system

Talking to people about your condition can be very difficult. However, it's important you have at least one person you can talk to when you have flare-ups at work—someone that can help with a remedy for immediate relief.

It's also advisable to let your employer know about your condition. This may be beneficial when a sick leave or break is needed from work. Nevertheless, it is not compulsory, especially when you're not comfortable letting people know about your condition.

Joining a support group might also be beneficial. There, you meet people with similar conditions and learn from the group discussions how they deal with their symptoms and how they achieve a healthy work-life balance.

The importance of addressing endometriosis in the workplace

Addressing endometriosis in the workplace will greatly benefit both people with endometriosis and other workers. Some of the reasons why it is important to address endometriosis issues at work include:

  • Increased productivity

Providing support for people with endometriosis can help increase their productivity. It helps them work with minimal stress, leading to increased productivity and fewer missed workdays due to pain or other symptoms.

  • High level of awareness among colleagues

When endometriosis is properly addressed in the workplace, it increases awareness of the condition among employers and coworkers. This helps to curb the stigma that may surround the condition and improves understanding and support for the individual.

  • Promotes equal opportunities

By acknowledging the needs of people with endometriosis, workplaces can ensure that people with endometriosis have equal opportunities for career success and advancement, e.g., promotions and salaries.

  • Healthy work-life balance

Providing accommodations for employees with endometriosis is important for the employee. These accommodations may include room for a flexible working schedule, breaks, and days off, which will help the individual attain a healthy work-life balance.

  • Job security

When an employer is involved in the care and support of an employee with endometriosis, the employee is assured of not losing the job in the near future due to the condition. Awareness among employers and coworkers increases understanding and support for the individual, which makes the individual feel at ease.

Tips for meeting up with medical appointments and treatments as a working class with endometriosis

Living with endometriosis may require regular medical check-ups and treatments, which might interfere with work. 

Here are some tips that may help you keep up with your medical appointments and treatments as a working-class individual.

  • Discuss with your employer: Letting your employer know about your condition and the importance of keeping up with hospital appointments is essential to meeting your appointments and treatments. Discuss with your employer possible ways you can attend to your needs while meeting the company's needs.
  • Schedule appointments outside of work hours: As much as possible, try to schedule your appointments and treatments outside of working hours. If not possible, schedule them for less busy times or during breaks.
  • Request for sick leaves: Depending on the company policy and accommodations, sick leave or some time off may be granted for medical appointments and treatments.
  • Requesting medical leave covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Eligible employees working under FMLA-covered employers may be entitled to unpaid, job-protected leave for family or medical reasons while still retaining their group health insurance coverage.


Living with endometriosis can be challenging because it can affect different aspects of life. 

In the workplace, it can affect a person’s mental health, productivity, and input. This may result in someone losing their job, quitting their dream job for a more flexible one, or delaying the achievement of career goals. However, having a good support system in and out of the workplace can greatly help people with endometriosis attain a healthy work-life balance.