Pain/bleeding/etc at work?: Just wondering... - Endometriosis UK

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Pain/bleeding/etc at work?


Just wondering what methods other people use to deal with pain and heavy bleeding at work? I've improved a lot since first being diagnosed in high-school, and do yoga regularly, massages, have changed my diet, and take very low pain medication when it's bad. However, I can't really do yoga at work and the painkillers I take make me very spaced out and I worry that people will notice.

I hate taking time off work and don't really want to explain endo to anyone I work with in detail as it's pretty yuck (and when I told my boss about it in a previous job, she wasn't at all understanding and it just made things really difficult for me). I have a pretty high tolerance to pain these days, and can normally distract myself enough to deal with it (I actually prefer being at work when it's bad, as it keeps me busy and not focused on the pain). But at the same time, it's really difficult when I get tired and just want to collapse on the desk for five minutes!

Also, I'm paranoid about bleeding all over the chair or something! Every few months I will randomly get a stupidly heavy period that starts suddenly without warning (I really think women should get a medal for being able to lose so much blood in one sitting and not die), and I don't want to have to explain to my colleagues why my desk area looks like a crime scene! It's only happened to me once, when I was much younger and not used to dealing with endometriosis, but it was really embarrassing and I now constantly worry about it happening again. Plus I sit between two guys in my current job, which would make the experience even more awkward! : (

Any ideas/advice?

7 Replies

Firstly I am sorry you are having to struggle with this, but I have every sympathy because I had years of that too. I used to take paracetamol and over time had to take more and more as it just wouldn't be enough.

As for floods, it's soething you have to deal with one way or the other.

Wearing dark clothes, baggy long cardigans or jumbers to cover up you bum area if you have leaked, Have a long coat to wear if you have had an accident during the day and have to get home before you can clean up.

Regular trips to the bath room to change tampons and towels, even change underwear all help.

It all sounds rather Victorian that we should have to put up with any of that in this day and age, and I m going to STRONGLY suggest to you that the best thing you can do is to stop your periods from bleeding at all.

There are birthcontrol pills which you can take back to back to skip periods, but you hae to remember to take them every day.

There are arm implants that stop your periods for longer stretches of time too.

But the Miracle drug of all that I found amazing was the Mirena Coil, which does take a few periods more to kick start, but when it does, it gives you up to 4.5 YEARS of no periods and no period pains.

You do not need to have had had a pregnancy to hve the Mirena put in, I haven't had kids and nor have many of the ladies with endo, and yet we have had the Mirena.

It doesn't always suit everyone, but even if the side effects are mild, it certainly is much better than flooding and pain and being zonked on drugs every month.

It can hurt being put in, so I would recommend that you take pain killers before the procedure and possibly get refered to the local hospiital to have gas and air while it is put in, but once it is in properly, there is every chance you will not even know it is there.

Then give it about 4-5 months for it to really start working and you should be period and period pain free for a few years.

It will liberate you at home and work, give you back 1/4 of every year that you lose to periods, help you undertake all sorts of sport activities you didn't dare do before, should help you enormously with work, as you won't need to be worrying at all about your period and give you the confidence to do your job a lot better too.

So my advice is that you are suffering when you do not have to be, and you should stop those periods from happening. If you do meet someone and want to start a family it can be taken out before it runs out after 5 years.

in reply to Impatient

Just to say I totally agree with this. My periods were a nightmare and the sudden flooding unbearable and unmanageable. I had a Mirena coil inserted, in my case under general anaesthetic at the same time as an investigative laparoscopy. I have my life back. I've had it for two years now, I do have light periods and some spotting at other times but I feel well, and don't really have any side effects. It's been life changing, no more Prostap or other hormone treatments, very little pain and no mood swings... I'd recommend trying. Hope this helps

Heya, it sounds like you have had some pretty uncomfortable experiences with endo and periods before as well as peoples reactions.

We learn how to cope with situations based on what has happened before, that has positive and negative consequences. On the one hand it teaches you to prepare for things such as knowing that sometimes you can get really heavy so you know when you are coming up to your period to wear pads just in case and check regularily to make sure you havn't soaked through.... that is a good result in us preparing for the future by assuming the past could happen again.

A negative consequence is when we assume that a negative consequence WILL happen again leading you to continue with behaviors which may have been helpful in the past but may not be helpful any more. Such as believing that all of your collegues and bosses are going to be negative about your health issues.

It sounds like you are a hard worker, it is likely that you new manager has noticed this about you. You have to decide for yourself whether telling your work is a good idea but remember, every manager is different and some are actually quite supportive about these things.

The way you describe it, it sounds like you think other people will be traumatised to hear about your condition but this is not the case. Bosses hear about all sorts of stuff from staff so it is quite possible that they will react maturely. Especially if you explain the condition based on what is relevant to work such as the symptoms that are likely to notice and how you currently cope with it.

My former boss, for example, allowed me to work more flexible hours. I earned Time Off In Lieu ahead of time so I could ask to go home if I needed to with no guilt if we had enough staff. My current boss doesn't really understand the condition but isn't rude about it as she knows that I just get on with work and work hard.

Taking a 5 min break does not sound like a ridiculous request if you need it (hell...... smokers do this all the time, you boss may respect you actually having a good reason in comparison).

Now you may not be able to do yoga in the office but you completely can do chair stretches, lots of people do this at work to help with their backs and it is quite common to see people stretching in chair jobs.

It takes time for your brain to learn that past experiences are not necessarily going to happen again and for you to learn to trust your well developed coping mechanisms.

Good luck and hopefully you will feel confident to be able to confide in someone one day, having someone who knows what is going on at work can be really nice. Sometimes just someone giving a crap can make the day a little easier.

Good luck x



Sorry to hear about your work - but does sound like you have some good techniques in place. I think that as crystal says being bale to talk to your manager and be flexible about your working day/week is a good idea - I guess depends on what your job is though (!). Important to remember is that work can not (or should not) discriminate against you thesis of having endometriosis and should make adjustments for you - including flexible working day/breaks/working from home.

I have told a limited amount of people at work and the majority have been very understanding ( I think one of two just think I'm moaning about heavy periods....) but my boss has been fantastic and I think this was helped by the fact she had a relative who had endo so had seen the impact it could have on someone.

I hope it gets better and good luck


For the heaviest days I use the always night time pads and change them every two hours or so. For the pain I take nurofen plus (available from the pharmacy counter only) and instead of taking two tablets every four hours, I take one as I need it but not more than every two hours and without exceeding the maximum daily dose of 6. It wor. ks for me but pain control will be different for everyone. I also keep spare trousers, wet wipes and under wear in the car. Good luck Sid x

Thanks for replies. I was just having a bad day and needed to rant to complete strangers on the internet! haha

I did try the coil, but didn't get on with it unfortunately (it helped some things and made others much worse, so overall wasn't worth it for me). I think I'm doing everything I can, so I really just need to change my perspective and keep in mind there are a lot of people with far worse things than endometriosis. I'm normally a pretty positive person. Just get sudden very low/irrational moods when I'm anaemic (on the plus side, I lost 10lb in 5 days - always a silver lining!). But starting to cheer up again and get back to my normal self. Thank you all for the support and hope everyone is doing ok. One day they will find a permanent cure!

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