Endometriosis & Employers- The Rewards of Understanding  by Rhea Huggins

Endometriosis & Employers- The Rewards of Understanding by Rhea Huggins

Last year my FABULOUS (excuse the pun) employer FabLittleBag become a member of the Endometriosis UK Friendly Employer scheme.

I am very lucky to be at a company that understands my disease and the issues it can sometimes cause. However I have also unfortunately been at companies where this knowledge & compassion of the workings of the female body is quite honestly non-existent. Some employers see Endo as something that ‘will get in the way of their business, their workload and that could be a burden to their company’’. Unfortunately this mentality comes up all too often, even in this 'modern society' in which we live.

What these employers don’t understand is that by supporting and engaging with their employees that they will actually get so much more from them. As research suggests, employees work better & more efficiently when they have employers who support them. Positive workplace cultures give people a sense of fulfilment and motivation, encouraging them to go the extra mile.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 severe Endometriosis over 10 years ago, after 7 years of mis-diagnosis. It is a very individual disease, for me my symptoms varied between stomach contractions, excruciating pain, vomiting, often these were confused with IBS and appendicitis. For me I didn't have heavy periods, despite this being a common symptom for many. I am still under a specialist centre in the UK, who quite frankly saved my life. By the way, the fact that it takes on average 7-8 years to be diagnosed, is one of the key problems I, Endo UK and many others, including celebrities like Emma Barnett are determined to change.

I have been volunteering as an Online Support Group Leader for Endometriosis UK the past 3-4 years, it’s a role which I find incredibly rewarding. Even after all of these years and my own experience, I am still learning so much more about the disease.

Just before Lockdown No1, I was invited to talk & give evidence in Parliament as part of the APPG inquiry on Endometriosis. This was the first of four evidence hearings that would gather evidence from people with Endometriosis & healthcare practitioners to understand the challengers faced by those with the condition and seek to produce recommendations to the government on what can be done to improve care.  This was an incredible honour for me and on the day there was a real sense of empowerment and change. I guess only time will tell…

I would like to encourage all companies and employees to take the time to research Endometriosis and/or any other conditions which are effecting your workforce. Engage, learn & support, and in turn I promise, your employees will flourish.

TOGETHER WE ARE STRONGER!

Love Rhea @ Team Fab x