A study recently published in the BMJ Open journal assessed the loss of work productivity of women with endometriosis. A disease that is too often underestimated, underestimated and poorly managed.
Menstrual pain until it sometimes collapses, lumbar pain, chronic fatigue, infertility… Endometriosis, a gynaecological disease that affects at least one in ten women, unfortunately often has an impact on the work of women who suffer from it.
For the first time, a Dutch scientific study recently published by the BMJ Open assessed the loss of productivity associated with this disease, which is still poorly managed. The researchers compared the absenteeism rates at work or during school for some 32,748 Dutch women aged 15 to 45 with endometriosis recruited on social networks in 2017. For a few months, participants completed a series of online questionnaires, specifying the frequency and duration of their menstrual cycle, the intensity of their pain, and their work-related absenteeism due to the disease.
In total, 13.8% of respondents reported absenteeism during their period, and 3.4% reported such absenteeism during most or all of their menstrual cycles. The menstrual absenteeism of a woman with endometriosis averaged 1.3 days per year.
In total, 80.7% of the women surveyed reported “presenteeism”: going to work or school knowing that pain reduced their productivity by an average of 23.2 days per year. According to the authors of the study, the total productivity loss for these women was 8.9 days each year. And when women were sick because of their periods, only 20.1% of them told their employer or school that their absence was due to a menstrual problem.
67.7% of respondents would have liked to have more flexibility in their work schedules during their period to better cope with pain and adjust their production.
“Although we are in the 21st century for almost two decades, discussions about menstrual symptoms are still sometimes taboo,” the authors of the study lamented in their conclusion. “There is an urgent need to focus more on the impact of these symptoms, especially for women under 21, to discuss treatment options with women of all ages and, ideally, to give more flexibility to women who work or go to school,” they said.