As many as one in six women with endometriosis could be giving up work because of the effects of the condition, a survey by investment firm Standard Life has discovered.
Fifty-four per cent of the “worst affected” women experienced a reduction in earnings as a direct result of having endometriosis – a condition that sees tissue similar to the lining of the womb grow in other areas such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and bladder.
An additional 17% of “worst affected” sufferers reported a total loss of earnings because they were unable to continue working while experiencing some of its symptoms, which can include severe pain and infertility.
Nearly nine in ten (87%) women with endometriosis believed the condition has impacted their long-term financial situation.
Standard Life, which is supporting the charity Endometriosis UK in a campaign to raise awareness of the effects the condition can have, said it takes seven-and-a-half years, on average, for a diagnosis to be made.
TV presenter Julia Bradbury, who has the condition, said: “Endometriosis affects every part of a sufferer’s personal life and this research shows the extent to which it impacts their professional and financial life too.
“I personally know just how devastating endometriosis can be. But because it’s an ‘invisible illness’ it’s not obvious that someone is suffering.
“We need to raise awareness of endometriosis so employers step-up and support women who have it – as a matter of urgency.”
Barry O’Dwyer, chief executive of Standard Life Savings, added: “By partnering with Endometriosis UK, Standard Life aims to raise awareness to ensure sufferers receive a faster diagnosis and therefore faster treatment in the future.
“For many, planning for the future is challenging enough without the added complication of an invisible illness. This campaign is about getting comfortable having difficult conversations so that everyone can access the support that they need.”