Endometriosis UK
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Uni (Open uni) and Endo

Hey ladies,

Is anyone currently at Uni, or doing a course with the OU (Open University)?

I wondered how you've found it handling both at the same time, with the pains and the chronic fatigue?

I was diagnosed in June with mild endo, and I've noticed in the past 6 months my fatigue is getting out of control - i fall asleep by 8pm and just cant get my brain to function during the day whilst I'm trying to get on and do my uni work. I only work 5 hours a day (childminder so mainly school runs) so have 4 or 5 hours in between to get lots done, but I've really struggled lately - even failed my exam because i found i was sleeping all day instead of revising.

I just didn't know if the university took you seriously? I really feel like with this disease that they just think 'oh...period pain.... it cant be that bad' and thats it.

Hope your all feeling okay today though!

Emma Xx

6 Replies

Hi Emma,

Sorry you are finding it difficult, I can definitely sympathise with you, I have been doing a distance learning Master degree (but not with OU) as well as working full time for the past 3 years. The first 2 years were ok but this last year I started to have endometriosis symptoms and these progressed really rapidly, going from no symptoms at all to pain almost every day plus fatigue, nausea… so I have really struggle with it. I was supposed to complete my dissertation in September but I could not do it. Luckily, I was able to present a Personal Extenuating Circumstances (PEC) claim because of endo and I got it approved with no problem and now have an extension until December. I believe this option (or something similar) should be available in other institutions and these are normally approved for medical circumstances, have you got a doctor letter or anything like that or could you get your GP to write one? I had the letters from the hospital consultant and those were enough. These will help you to support your claim, but it is not a requirement (at least it was not in my University). I just had to submit a form with a short explanation and include the doctor letter, no awkward questions or anything afterwards. Hope this helps and you are able to submit a PEC claim and get it approve.

Best of luck x



I have heard people have had special circumstances approved for extensions, and with some coursework i managed to have a really nice tutor who understood and so gave me an extra week, but I'm now on a different course working towards my degree and so i have no idea how nice my tutors will be.

Im glad to hear you managed to get an extension though, i hope it all goes well for you!


Emma Xx


Hi Emma,

I am currently working full time, doing a distance diploma in Art and a Masters Degree in Corporate Governance I study part time so I attend lectures in the evening after work. Honestly.......it's hell but as you can see I am not happy unless I have something to do and so far through all of the fatigue etc I have been doing ok. I take vitamin supplements every day - try the Berrocca with Guyana (?) it really works for me and a butt load of coffee!!

However, in terms of uni taking it seriously, mine takes it to another level..... I have surgery next week and as a result the university would not let me sit my final semester as they were "afraid I would fail", they told me I could not claim "extenuating circumstances" as I have a chronic illness and surgery is "planned"!! I was furious but there was nothing I could do about it, they treat chronic illness as if its the persons fault they decided to attend uni when they have an illness and as a result it is no excuse. I now have to wait an academic year before I can return to it, I'm gutted. I feel like now I am being made to choose between being a mum and qualifying professionally as I will now be almost 33 when I finish the MSc and being pregnant is also "planned"!!!

Universities differ with their policies so it is worth reading the extenuating circumstances policy on their student website, if not call student services and they are usually really helpful. The OU should have better policies than my university as they are geared around helping people obtain degree's who would otherwise not be able to.

Endo is taken more seriously in this situation as they are a professional organisation and cannot be seen to discriminate, what individuals think is irrelevant, so you do have the right to ask the OU to help you out.

Hope you find a remedy for your fatigue, it's a killer :(

Emma xxx


Hi Emma,

Really sorry to hear your having such a rubbish time with your uni, thats ridiculous that theyve made you wait a year, although my tutor also spoke to the uni and said she thought i was going to fail... so i just proved her wrong and it was the best feeling in the world!

I really hope your uni doesn't carry on in their old-fashioned ways though, as like you said, it really isn't the persons fault they have this shitty disease!

Thanks again

Emma Xx


Well done on proving them wrong, I did it too in my second semester, I missed loads of lectures, got fined because I kept forgetting my pass (I am sure you can sympathise with brain fog!) and pulled two distinctions out of the hat - boom! That's what drives me now, I know I can do it even though everything is against me, you can absolutely do the same. Getting a degree is something to be proud of but I think we can afford to be a little more smug about it!!!!

Best of luck and keep proving them wrong! :)



Oh wow well done you!!

Good luck too :)


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