Endometriosis UK
34,720 members30,964 posts

Endo preventing entry into military

Hi everyone,

Just wondered if anyone knew much about the condition with regards getting into the Navy , I only found out I have endo when I had an op in Oct 2012 to remove a small endometrioma, the endo was zapped at same time I had the cyst removed, sadly this year my symptoms have returned and a scan has revealed another cyst only very small. I am on a wait list for op, hoping its just a cyst and that the endo hasn't flared up again. When I spoke to a doctor who does military medicals he said some women do get in with the condition depending on severity, i'm hoping to join the reserves, anyone know anyone who has any experience with this or knows someone who got through medical with condition?

I know I won't know till I have my own medical which will now have to wait until next year but I just want a little hope, I really want to join reserves if I can.


6 Replies

I can't comment on the Navy. What I can say is that there are vast differences in the level of impact that this disease actually has on people's lives. For, example, it is clear now that I had obvious symptoms of endo from my very early teens. Each month I had horrifically painful periods from 12 + where I would vomit, pass out etc. This was not normal. However, whilst it was completely wrong for doctors, my family or me to normalize this, for the vast majority of the time, these extreme symptoms were only present for a couple of days a month. In my mid 20's I started to get occasional very severe pain in my bottom at other times of the month (probably development of my recto-vaginal endo). Again, as distressing as this was - it did not stop me from holding down a full time job working extremely long hours. I was very physically active, travelled a lot etc. I had a level of severe pain for a very limited period every few weeks. It was not really right for me to just accept it as my 'lot' but in general it did not stop me. I worked around the problem. It was not until my symptoms spread out to the rest of the month in my 30s and became a daily problem that the disease became truly debilitating and a total life changer. I can no longer work. I would have thought that the Navy would have to take you on face value in terms of what you are capable of now? Women with endo cannot all be lumped into the same group. For example, if you used the comparison of another illness re capability, you would not say that someone who had mild arthritis in a couple of fingers was in the same predicament as someone who had the disease in every joint of their body.

As an aside - if your consultant told you s/he 'zapped' your endo - and by this meant that he just blasted it with heat - find another consultant. Endo should always be excised - cut out. 'Zapping' it just leaves the disease lurking under the surface and can cause more damage.

Good luck with your application.


I included this in some Uni work last year, so I know that we are not allowed in the Army but the Navy I do not know.


That's interesting. Presumably they give a long list of conditions that are not allowed? Can't believe that there might not be some way of challenging such a blanket rule. It's also interesting as people often have to fight so hard for endo to be viewed as a disability or significant work limiting illness in other workplaces - perhaps we should be quoting Army policy at the government! I wonder what happens if someone gets their diagnosis after signing up?


This has sparked my interest so I did a quick search and found this from 2009 - which does say if you scroll down that endometriosis permanently disqualifies you. Hardly seems right. There must be roles that people could do - and as I said - do you just get booted out if you're diagnosed later. I hope it's possible for you to find a way around this to pursue your goal.


I totally understand why the military services wouldn't take on anyone already known to have endo.

it costs so much to train and kit out a service person, and they must be as medically fit as possible to be able to deploy at a moments notice to the far reaches of the globe, a mighty long way away from specialist medical expertise. Even reservists must be up to standard.

The odds are that endo will in the end take over your health, and your get up and go can be gone very quickly leaving you struggling with chronic fatigue and barely able to work at all, much less be effective at a critical time when you are most needed. Far too many of us have had careers, working long hours and shifts and whatnot, and now find ourselves really struggling to work at all. We didn't start out this way, we sure didn't anticipate being this debilitated by endo, but that's the place we now find ourselves in.

The risks to the MOD as an employer, are far too high to risk taking on anyone known to have endo. Sorry but I really do suggest you sack the idea and look closer to home for a fulfilling career. One where you remain having access to the NHS as and when required.

Perhaps working for an airline (ground based), or shipping company, cargo or freight logistics (much the same work as is done in the Navy but is UK land based.) The merchant navy won't be quite so strict about their entry requirements as the Royal Navy are, so why not try them and see what careers and training they have to offer instead.


I am really sorry, the information given above must have knocked you for six. We spend all these years fighting for a diagnosis not taking into account what the impact of knowing may have on our life.

We seem to believe that once we know what is wrong it will make it better somehow and it did for me. I felt vindicated but at the same time the knowledge itself has been difficult. When I contemplate starting a relationship I start thinking about how I am going to bring it up, when is the best time. You want to be honest but at the same time you don’t want to talk about something so personal with someone until you get to know them better.

In the end I shy away from the whole thing and think I am best just to carry on as I am.

Please don’t just give up because on a list somewhere it says no, there is always a way- sometimes it’s just a matter of finding it Xxx


You may also like...