Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
ABC News
ABC News
Caitlyn Sheehan, Nicole Dyer and Tom Forbes

Workplaces have role to play in educating Australian men about endometriosis

Ash Webb has had four laparoscopies since being diagnosed with endometriosis in 2009.(

Supplied: Ash Webb


Australian workplaces are being encouraged to educate staff about endometriosis in a bid to raise awareness about the painful disorder affecting one in 10 women.

Endometriosis Queensland president Jessica Taylor said while people were slowly becoming "endo aware", more needed to be done to explain the condition to men.

"One in 10 women have endo, but they are the ones we know about," Ms Taylor said.

"If we can start talking about it, then people are less likely to foster that negative commentary, that it is 'just a period'.

"It is not 'just a period' that can be controlled with a heat pack and Panadol."

Endometriosis can cause extreme pain and infertility in women and sometimes can take between seven to 10 years to diagnose.

Ms Taylor said workplaces were the perfect places to educate people about the condition.

'It's still a taboo topic'

Ash Webb, from Toowoomba in Queensland, was diagnosed with endometriosis when she was 19 years old after countless visits to her doctor and hospital emergency departments.

Endometriosis sufferer Ash Webb says her workmates are more understanding after taking part in an endo awareness workshop.(

Supplied: Ash Webb


"When I was first diagnosed I had a sense of relief," Ms Webb, 30, said.

"During high school, I recall laying in the corridors, having stomach cramps.

Ms Webb, who works in administration for an oil and gas company, said her workmates became "endo aware" through a series of face-to-face workshops.

"It's a tough disease, because it's still a taboo topic.

"Usually I will say to a couple of colleagues, 'hey today is a bad day'.

"When they're aware of it, it's a lot easier, because then you can have those conversations and someone might go and offer to heat up my wheat pack."

Laparoscopic image of endometriosis on the peritoneum.(

Wikimedia Commons: Hic et nunc


She said discussing the health issue at work became easier after the workshops.

"You can probably explain it to a male in passing and it'll go straight over their head.

"But when you can sit them down with a room full of their peers and it seems to make a lot more sense to them."

As a result of the workshops, two of Ms Webb's female colleagues have since been diagnosed with the disease.

"They've gone and had their laparoscopies and come back to me within days of having their operations and saying I have endo," said the pregnant mother of one.

For Endometriosis Awareness Month, Ms Taylor said she wanted more people to learn about the condition and how to help women with it.

"A number of years ago we spoke to a transport company with a male-dominated workforce and the men were so understanding and very kind and wanted to be educated," she said.

She said the information became useful a couple of years later when a women in the company's office was diagnosed with the condition and had to undergo fertility treatment.

Employees are urged to take part in an endometriosis awareness workshops.(

Supplied: Endometriosis Queensland


Early management helps

Ms Taylor also said it was not uncommon for women to go decades without being diagnosed.

"Even women in their 70s were still finding impacts of endo from decades of it being undiagnosed," she said.

Ms Taylor said according to a 2018 report, endometriosis cost the Australian economy $7.7 billion annually in healthcare, absenteeism, and lost social and economic participation.

"It warrants further attention, because early management does help."

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.