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Information for Employers

Endo Warriors Aotearoa (EWA) offers support to help make workplaces more comfortable for employees. Our services are available in Wellington and surrounding areas, and we provide information and support in the workplace. To schedule a koha workshop for you and your staff, please contact us at

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a medical condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other areas of the body, usually in the pelvic cavity, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. Each month, this tissue builds up and breaks down, causing pain, inflammation, and scar tissue formation. Unlike the lining of the uterus, this tissue has no way of leaving the body, leading to discomfort and complications.  Endometriosis can affect individuals born female at any age but is most common in those of childbearing age, between puberty and menopause. It is a chronic health condition with significant and far-reaching effects on those who live with it.

Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Chronic pelvic pain

  • Significant period pain and heavy periods

  • Gastrointestinal issues like nausea, constipation and diarrhoea, particularly around menstruation

  • Fatigue

  • Pelvic pain – usually, but not always, associated with menstrual periods. Pain can be severe and debilitating

  • Bowel-related symptoms such as bloating, painful bowel movements and fluctuating bowel habits, similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

  • Pain during or after sexual intercourse

  • Abnormal menstrual bleeding (heavy periods or bleeding between periods)

  • Pain with ovulation

  • Fertility problems

  • Difficulty getting pregnant

  • Increased risk of miscarriage

  • Depression

  • Premenstrual spotting

  • Cyclical boated abdomen, constipation, or diarrhoea

  • Immune system issues

  • Lower back pain

  • Constant tiredness/fatigue

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

The severity of symptoms experienced is not generally related to the extent of the

disease, eg: a person with mild endometriosis can suffer severe symptoms, and vice versa. Not every person born female, with endometriosis will have regular monthly symptoms. For more information, please see our factsheets

Ways to Support Employees with Endometriosis

When it comes to supporting employees with endometriosis, raising awareness and understanding is crucial. Educating yourself and your team about the nature of endometriosis and its impact on a person's life and well-being can better equip you to provide support to employees living with the condition.

It's important to remember that not all individuals with endometriosis will experience severe symptoms, and some may choose to keep their diagnoses and experiences private. However, if an employee with endometriosis is struggling, they may find it challenging to cope in a busy role or workplace without adequate support from their employer. By talking to your workers and asking how they are coping, you can assess if they need additional support to do their work safely. Even small adjustments such as allowing employees to use hot water bottles, heat pads, or take painkillers can make a significant difference.

Here are some simple steps you can take to support your workers with endometriosis:

  • Build a supportive workplace culture: Train managers to be supportive and react appropriately to concerns raised by workers. Encourage workers to share their health issues more confidently and enable managers to find ways of supporting them to stay engaged, productive, and comfortable at work.

  • Start a conversation: While not all workers will want to discuss private health issues, a supportive conversation can help identify ways to support the worker. Be mindful not to ask for more information than necessary and ask questions only about how to help workers perform their job without risk to their health and safety.

  • Medical certificates: When a worker is suffering from a chronic disease such as endometriosis, they may require varying periods of leave from work. You may consider allowing workers an overarching medical certificate recognizing their condition from their treating doctor. It may also be useful to consider putting in place a support plan with the assistance of their treating doctor so both you and the worker can manage their symptoms at work.

  • Flexible work arrangements: A worker with endometriosis may be managing significant pain on a regular basis and/or undergoing treatment requiring them to attend multiple medical appointments. Discussing formal or informal flexible working arrangements with the worker can support them during these periods, including a change in shift patterns or start and finish times, shorter hours, graduated return to work, an agreed period of paid or unpaid time off, or working from home.

  • Job modifications: Consider job modifications to support a worker with endometriosis such as changing responsibilities, reducing the pace of work, managing workloads or modifying workstations.

  • Policies and procedures: Developing, implementing, and promoting policies and procedures in relation to chronic diseases such as endometriosis can assist in raising awareness and understanding of the disease. Ensure that these policies and procedures are developed in consultation with employees and health and safety representatives, available and communicated to all workers, included in induction programs, discussed at team meetings, and reviewed regularly.


Employment law: For more information about employment law please visit Employment: Access to jobs and protection against discrimination

Managing and treating endometriosis:

Managing the pain may involve medication such as anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication.

Treatment options include:

  • Hormone therapy such as the contraceptive pill or progestins.

  • Surgery to diagnose and remove patches of endometriosis, cysts, nodules, and adhesions, to repair any damage caused and improve fertility.

  • In extremely serious cases (including chronic pelvic pain), surgery to remove the uterus, ovaries, tubes and any areas of endometriosis present in the bladder or bowel.

For more information please see Endo Treatment & Endo Stages information & Endo Lifestyle modification & alternative treatment 

Endometriosis is a challenging condition with numerous symptoms that can impact employees in various ways. However, it is important to acknowledge that individuals with endometriosis may respond and manage differently. While some may not experience any work-related issues, others may require time off work and experience reduced productivity.  The effects of endometriosis on employees can include sickness and absence, which may affect their attendance and earnings. Additionally, employees may experience stress and mental health issues related to the uncertainties surrounding the diagnosis and the absence of a known cure for the condition. Those who wish to start a family may face further challenges related to fertility issues and the medical interventions required to address them.  Moreover, employees with endometriosis may struggle to perform their duties while experiencing pain, nausea, fatigue, or menstrual problems. They may feel hesitant to disclose their condition to colleagues and fear that they may not be perceived as productive team members.

If you or your team members are interested in learning more about endometriosis, Endo Warriors Aotearoa offers informative fact sheets on their website. These resources are beneficial for those with endometriosis, those who suspect they may have the condition, and anyone seeking to increase their awareness of this challenging health issue. To learn more or book a talk at your workplace, please visit

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