Endometriosis UK

Career and endo?

Hey all.

I was just wondering if having a career and endo is possible? And if so how do u manage?

I had 3 op's about 3-4 years ago to remove a chocolate cyst and endo. Until now I've been fine. But I find myself signed off work waiting for another op to remove endo again.

I'm just wondering if this is something ill have to do every few years? And if so is it possible for me to have a career? Or should I begin to focus on other things? I'm 24 and just feeling a little lost with what to do with myself. Thanks for taking the time to read.

Kind regards


6 Replies

I honestly think that the response will differ from person to person. I have been able to continue working by working part time, and with the understanding of a boss that knows that I work my ads off when I can, though I do sense dis- beleif when I sometimes have to call in sick in the mornings. I have alliteration of the pouch of Douglas and stage 4 endometriosis, so having to go for a number two sometimes can be horrifically painful, but as soon as I feel better, I head straight to work. To other people though, it just looks like I just couldn't get my area out of bed, so how long I can continue working? Who knows? For sure, I wouldn't be able to go and find and get a job honestly now. I am sure that if I were honest, no one would employ me


Hi I run my own business which means if I need time off I can but means no sickpay ! So most of the time iit's great but when I have deadlines I have to stickto and feel awful, iI have no choice but to dose up in painkillers and drag myself to work. Sometimes I think having to deal with customers takes my mind of it all. I think as long as you are able to work it's healthy to get out too. Most people have to work so it's finding a way to make it work for you. Weather that's going part time or being self employed rather than fulltime, you shouldn't give up in wanting a career. It's not always easy but my work gives me something positive to focus on when my mind is full of worries too x

I'm booked in for a laparotomy in November so have had to arrange cover while I'm off and this is my third op too but fingers crossed this will sort my pains so although it's a nightmare for my work my health comes first and I just have to work around it!


Of course this varies from person to person. But here's my experience, which has been pretty positive (I also have a couple of female colleagues who have endometriosis and although we've all had some tough times, we all have great careers). Just to give you my idea of a great career - I'm a Director of a global company of 17000 people, and am the most senior woman in my division of 1500 people.

If you could have a career without endometriosis, then you can almost certainly have one with endometriosis. It just might look a bit different in the way you organise yourself, and the pace at which you're able to operate. Here are a few tips that have worked for me (and for some of the people who've worked for me):

1. Try to be a great employee/colleague. Of course you will have some bad times and will probably be off sick more than most. But you can compensate for this by having a great attitude and doing great work when you are around. My employer will bend over backwards for me because they know that I'm great at what I do and they know it would be a real pain if I left. Think about studying for extra qualifications if that's relevant in your field, as it can mean that you've got more to offer your employer.

2. From the employer's point of view, the most annoying thing is unreliability. Yes, we all have days when we get up in the morning and find we can't work. Or in fact, we can't get up. So if you need flexible arrangements, try to make sure that you are ultra-reliable and never miss deadlines etc. My employer will definitely cut me some slack because I've never missed a deadline yet (in 20+years). If you have to have an operation, then be clear about how long you're likely to be away.

3. Help solve any problems. For example, if you're going to be away for surgery etc, be proactive in suggesting how to cover for your absence. If you need to work from home (which I currently do once or twice a week) then make sure that you have helped get everything set up so that you can be really effective. Last year, I had to take of time for three operations, but was able to arrange cover for some of my responsibilities (and actually my assistant did end up bringing me some work in the hospital....)

4. Be assertive but flexible. You need to be able to balance standing up for your own needs (eg. I need to work from home / take this time off for medical examinations...) with being flexible and accommodating for others (eg. I'm feeling OK, so let me pick up this project that nobody else wants...). Realise that some of your choices will have consequences - for example, if you choose to work part-time your career progression is likely to be a bit slower.

5. Be open about your condition, where appropriate, but don't use it as an excuse. My colleagues know I've been ill, and some of them know what I've had. But I don't talk about it much and so I find they treat me as though I'm fine - which I often am!

6. It gets better! As you get more senior, you tend to have more control over your diary and so it's much easier to schedule medical appointments around your needs. You're also more likely to have assistants to provide support and cover. I also find that now that I'm approaching menopause, my symptoms are much easier to manage and control.

At 24, you have a lot ahead of you, but please don't let endometriosis limit your ambitions. Good luck, whatever you decide to do!


Hi I work for a quite a big company and they have been great they umderstand sometime not at best due to pain and tablets,but when able I work hard and that seems to go a long way. I have a good career but I do seem to need an opp about every 2yrs so far had 4. You can do whatever you feel able and want to do, no harm in giving it a go. Good luck.



I'm looking for a part time job at the moment and leaving a highly stressful job with immense workload. I've never hid the fact that I have endo and everyone at work has been super understanding.

What endo has taught me is to slow down my pace. I used to be very fast paced and ambitious and this created stress which in turn made my endo worse. I am now trying to be more accepting and value other things than my career (relationships in particular). I think that with time we all get better at managing the illness. I agree with the others that flexibility at work is good for us. I hope you won't let endo stand in the way of what you want to do. In my experience if what you want to do is highly stressful you may have to give it a good think but otherwise you can do whatever you set your mind to.

Take care and good luck xxx


I work part time as a carer in a care home. Its exhausting and really doesn't help my back/tummy pain. But I have a very high pain threshold so manage it okay, some days are worse then others and I do think to myself 'Urgh I can't take it anymore' but I get through. I'm not willing to let endo stop me doing something I love.


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