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Endometriosis UK
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Starting new job, do I need to tell my employer about my severe endo?

Hi ladies! I've been suffering with extensive and extremely painful endo for years now however was only properly diagnosed in January. I've had two ops, was on zoladex and now after being so fed up and desperate for children, me and my partner have decided to try and have one! However I have just been offered my dream job in a veterinary hospital and I'm so scared about going back to working a 40 hour week whilst trying to manage the even worse pain (now I am not on the contraceptive pill which helped a bit). Most days I can just about manage with pain relief however the first day of my period is the most intense, sickening pain and no amount of pain killers can get me out of bed! I have quite a high pain threshold however even this makes me cry and be sick because of how bad it is.

My problem is, do I tell my employer about my problems when I start so that she is aware? Or do you think they could get rid of me straight away? I know for a fact that this one day a month I will be totally incapable of working however because my periods are not always regular, I cannot even ask them to give me that certain day as one of my days off.

I'm really stuck at what to do as I cannot afford to loose this job as me and my partner have just got our first house together!



6 Replies

Its a tricky dilema. you are trying to have it all, juggling balls in the air and something is bound to fall when you juggle too many.

The reality is you need this job, you have undertaken a huge commitment in buying a house and paying for that and the bills is essential and immediate. To do that you need this job and you need to be well enough as you can be, to do it and keep it.

I think you would be being rather cheeky to expect them to employ you without declaring that you have a chronic illness which you can keep under control but you choose not to, because you are also trying for a baby which if successful would mean you take 6 months to a year off from work that your new employer needs to pay you for, and pay for someone to cover your hours while you are off, in addition to that while you are off on maternity pay - how are you planning to pay for the house bills and costs that you have already committed to?

Maternity payments are lower than yoursalary will be.

gov.uk/maternity-pay-leave/... gives you the current run down on what money you can get - and how to qualify for it.

I know you won't want to hear this - but I really don't think you have given yourself much choice, but to concentrate on the real issues that already exist. A baby does not exist.

That is - get back on period controllers (mirena, birth control pills etc) stop your periods so you can concentrate on getting your career established with the new employer and settle in to the job without having the trauma of agonising periods and needing to take days off when it isn't necessary if you were to get your periods under control - preferably stopped but even if you switch to reducing them from 13 to 3or 4 a year it is better than time off every month.

Get your house furnished and decorated and find out what your true monthly costs of running the house will be, find out what you can afford to put aside as a rainy day fund for topping up your income for when you are ready and I mean ready - for baby making and costs of the new baby and subsidising maternity pay. You will still have a house to pay for and run.

By then you have paid your dues to your new employer

before knocking on the boss' door to explain that "you and your partner are ready to start a family, but you have endometriosis and to conceive you need to come off the tablets or coil or whatever has been stabilising your periods. This will mean that you make the endo more active and it will be very painful for you and you will need adhoc days off at short notice for a few months until you can conceive."

They are much more likely to understand and give you latitude in your working hours once you have worked well for them for a decent spell of time and they have got to know you. You will also have proved that this is only a temporary state, and that they have seen that with period controlling treatment you are just as capable as any other employee of pulling your weight at work.

I fully appreciate that you are wanting to start a family as soon as you can, but that must also include making sure that you are employed and qualify for maternity pay, that you can demonstrate to your employer that you know your job and are willing to return to work for them after maternity leave, that you and your partner have done your sums and found out what it truly costs to run a house for a year and whether you can afford to raise a family on top of those costs.

Other ladies may take a different view, but I am of the opinion that if we are fair to our employers when we have endo problems to deal with, they are more likely to work with us.

If you don't declare you have endo - then you accept a job, and right away you are taking days off here there and everywhere at short notice -dropping them in piles of poop- irritating your colleagues because they will have to pick up the slack, then suddenly on top of taking those liberties you suddenly need to be taking a long time off on maternity leave that they will need to cover, they really will think you are a liability and can make work very miserable for you and may even terminate your employment at the slightest infringement of any workplace rules. They will want to offload you at the earliest opportunity and get someone more reliable in. They will also think twice about employing anyone else with endo - and that makes it doubly hard for any other ladies with endo who are desperate for work.

I do think you need to pull on the reigns and slow down your expectations and ambitions.

Do not over burden yourself. Get the job and house sorted and be as well as you can be, and coping with the commitments of both big events before attempting to start a family. Give yourselves a couple of years before baby making. By then your nest will be ready for the stork.


What about if you are on birth control and it still isn't helping with the pain and having to call off every so often? I want to get a new job, I am not trying to have kids. I have been on all kinds of birth control, and still have to call off. Do I tell the new place when I get interviews? That is my worry. And the pain pills I am given, I can't drive or do much of anything on. They "say" they are equal opportunity places, but when they come down to it, they are not going to hire someone with a chronic disease. And that isn't fair to me either. I WANT to work. I HATE calling off and admitting this horrid stuff is taking over my life. And I have yet to find a job where I can work from home.

1 like

Yes that is my problem, being on birth control doesn't get rid of the pain at all, I still have days I want to stay curled up in a ball because it is that bad. The only thing I found that helped the pain the most was being on zoladex however it was the worst 3 months of my life due to the insane mood swings and horrible hot flushes. I will never go back on that again!

I still have to idea whether to tell my boss or not :/ if they didn't ask me about my medical history before they offered me the job then am I required too?...


I told my new employer about my endo before I even went to interview. My dream job got advertised and cos I got such a hard time from my previous employer I rang ahead before even applying. I explained my illness in the interview (it's the reason I'm working part time) and on the occupational health forms. I've even had to see the oc health dr cos I take morphine for the pain.

My new boss is happy I'm doing everything I can to manage my condition.

I've not started yet but I'm feeling positive about it.


Hi there, I am working full time 45 hrs a week as a Live Out Nanny. So on top of the hrs I work I also drive 1 hour per day. My job is very physical and I do their cooking and baking plus housekeeping as well as looking after the kids. Plus need to look after my own house, dog and partner.

I got diagnosed just over 4-5 months after I started working for them and I was in constant pain before that. I didn't know why I was in so much pain. I got diagnosed also because we were TTC for a year at the time and I was in horrible pain 2 weeks every month.

Anyway luckily my boss has been very understanding but they know that we start our first IVF attempt within 5 months because both my tubes are blocked.

My boss told me a while ago that I should be on birth control until the IVF. Thing is I was on birth control early this year but I bled non stop for 6 - 8 weeks on it and still had the pain!! Plus my GP said that they can not put me on hormone treatment due to the upcoming IVF treatment.

I explained this to her and said all I can do is take pain killers and slow down with some of the work load.

She understands but isn't too happy of course. The thing is for what they pay me they can't expect me to do everything as in housekeeping, cooking, baking and child care anyway.

So I told her in order to keep working I will need to slow down. We agreed on that for now. I just hope the IVF will work. I have been working for them for over 2 years so will get maternity pay.

If I start a new job I will tell them of my condition but I guess by then I will be on some other hormone treatment and have more surgery as my Endo is back already just 9 months after surgery :-(

So just have to wait.

All the best and good luck with the new job. x


Thank you for your reply, I think I will see how things go and explain it to my boss when I feel the time is right! Wishing you all the best with the IVF! X


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