Endometriosis at work

Nutritional therapist Millie Gardner outlines the symptoms of endometriosis, how it affects women at work and what they can do to relieve the symptoms.

Woman clutches her stomach to indicate pain from endometriosis at work

 

The whole of March is dedicated to endometriosis awareness month. This is a condition currently affecting around 1.5 million women and those assigned female at birth in the UK currently. So what is endometriosis exactly? It is where tissue similar to that of the lining of the womb is found in other areas of the body. Symptoms include:

  • Pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worsening on your period.
  • Fatigue/lack of energy
  • Infertility.
  • Nausea
  • Constipation/ diarrhoea

Endometriosis at work

A big issue for sufferers of endometriosis is fulfilling work and social commitments, here are some current stats to show the scope of this issue:

These facts clearly show how much endometriosis can affect women’s work lifes. As a Nutritionist specialising in Women’s Health, and as someone with endometriosis myself this is something I understand well. Whether you’re looking for a new job, looking to get back to work, working on a promotion, or simply looking to be able to take less sick days, these are some of my top tips to support your endometriosis symptoms so you can focus on your work-life without the added stress.

Endometriosis flare up support

An endometriosis flare-up refers to a period of intensified symptoms, such as pelvic pain, cramping, fatigue, and potentially other symptoms like nausea or bowel discomfort. These are common for women with endometriosis and often cause work-life disturbance and a decrease in productivity and workflow.

3 ways to support yourself during a flare up:

  • Chamomile tea: chamomile is a great herb for endometriosis support. It is antispasmodic so can help with cramps and it is gentle on the gut so
    is great for those with bowel discomfort. Try 2 tea bags steeped in warm water with the optional addition of a teaspoon of honey
  • TENS Machines: Women are finding relief from endometriosis symptoms with TENS machines. These small devices send electrical pulses through electrodes attached to the skin, potentially blocking pain messages or triggering the body’s production of endorphins, which are natural pain-fighters.
  • Magnesium: has been found to ease period cramps, headaches, and more – it’s a must for endometriosis relief. Find it in spinach, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, and dark chocolate. Try adding these to your daily diet or opt for magnesium oil, which absorbs through the skin to relax muscles and alleviate cramping.

Stress support

The nervous system and pain are deeply interlinked. People who suffer from chronic pain conditions like endometriosis often find that stress can be a trigger for a pain flare up. When you are stressed, levels of the stress hormone cortisol rise in the body, which has been linked to an increase in inflammation and pain. Stress management is an important part of being able to manage
your endometriosis at work.

Here are my top 3 stress reduction tips:

  • Magnesium: here it is again! Magnesium isn’t just great for cramps, it’s also great for stress support. Magnesium inhibits excitatory neurotransmitters, put simply, it relaxes us on a cellular level.
    Magnesium glycinate is the best form of magnesium supplement for stress reduction. *Consult with a registered healthcare professional before beginning a new supplement
  • Epsom salt baths: epsom salt baths can be a great tool for relaxation. The magnesium in the salt absorbs through your skin and aids relaxation. Try 1-2 handfuls of epsom salt in a warm bath or as a foot soak.
  • Meditation: Mindfulness and meditation is a great tool for stress reduction, as it helps the body enter ‘rest and digest’ mode. A recent study found mindfulness-based interventions improved women’s endometriosis-related pain and psychological well-being.

It can be challenging for many women to navigate their endometriosis in conjunction with their work life, but with a rise in hybrid and remote working, flexibility is more available than ever for those navigating chronic health conditions. If you’re looking for further support endometriosisUK have support groups and a helpline for those affected.

If you are an employer looking to make your workplace more friendly for sufferers of endometriosis they have a menstrual health at work initiative you can follow.

Millie Gardner is a certified Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist (DipCNM, mANP, mGNC). She specialises in women’s health issues, supporting women with period and hormonal imbalance issues, including peri-menopause and menopause. If you are interested in working with her to receive tailored nutrition and supplement advice, you can book a free 30-minute connection call here to find out more. https://www.minutrition.org/



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