• Women’s health startup frendo launches the first-of-its-kind workplace support programme for endometriosis to coincide with Endometriosis Awareness Month in March
  • Research by frendo found that one in five women feel their workplaces are unsupportive of chronic health conditions
  • frendo@work will provide employers with the resources they need to support their employees while also helping endometriosis sufferers manage their health alongside their career
  • frendo was launched by Dearbhail Ormond, who lost her job due to the condition, to help individuals, companies, and medical institutions tackle endometriosis with the vigour it needs

London, 5 March 2024 — The first-of-its-kind dedicated workplace support programme for people who suffer with endometriosis has been launched by women’s health startup frendo to coincide with Endometriosis Awareness Month.

Endometriosis is a chronic disease, which if left untreated, can cause organ dysfunction, chronic pain and infertility. It is estimated that one in 10 women of reproductive age in the UK suffer with endometriosis[1].

Research by frendo found that one in five (20%) women feel their workplaces are unsupportive of chronic health conditions[2], and while almost a quarter (24%) of workplaces provide an employee support network for people experiencing fertility issues and menstrual problems[2], there is very little support in the workplace for endometriosis.

frendo@work aims to tackle this by providing organisations with the resources they need to support their employees with endometriosis, including company workshops, self-management tools and informative expert panel discussions, as well as resources and guidance for line managers to help them better support and communicate with staff members with the condition.

Meanwhile, employees can access frendo’s endo screening, tracking and community support through the frendo app, along with specialised guidance and scientifically-backed resources on nutrition, fertility, pain management, pelvic health, mindfulness and communication.

Endometriosis is a life-changing disease for sufferers, and its far-reaching symptoms can lead to work-related issues because of a long-standing stigma and a deep misunderstanding of the condition.

frendo’s research supports this, revealing more than a quarter (26%) of women said that they had been shamed or pressured to return to work when taking time off due to health issues[2].

The programme’s multidisciplinary approach prioritises women’s health and wellbeing, helps reduce staff absences and leads to improved engagement and performance.

frendo@work has already carried out a successful awareness programme with software company Salesforce, focused on raising awareness and fostering a sense of community and understanding within the organisation.

frendo was launched by Dearbhail Ormond, born out of her own story — she was made redundant when she returned to work after endometriosis surgery. Like many others (1 in 6 on average)[3], she lost her job due to the illness.

Dearbhail Ormond, Founder & CEO of frendo, comments: “Endometriosis is an unpredictable condition. Sufferers will often look fine, but suddenly, all of that can rapidly change due to the onset of very painful and distressing symptoms, which many employers and managers struggle to understand and are currently not equipped to support.

“Thanks to increased awareness of endometriosis over the last couple of years, we are finally at an inflection point where organisations are asking what they can do to support those who suffer from the many impairments of the disease: pain, infertility, painful sex and mental health challenges, and at frendo, we want to be part of the solution.

“frendo@work will help employers access the tools they need to guarantee health equity in the workplace, helping with staff retention and wellbeing.”

Dr Shaheen Khazali, Consultant Gynaecologist and Endometriosis Surgeon, comments: “Endometriosis can prevent women from living their lives to their full potential, including in the workplace.

“By taking a multipronged approach, frendo@work will play an important role in not just helping people with the condition to manage it alongside their career, but by educating employers so that they can sufficiently support their staff.”

 

References

  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
  2. Survey by OnePoll carried out between 2nd-8th February 2024 of employed women aged 25-55 in the UK. Sample size: 1,250.
  3. Southern Cross University.

 

What the programme includes for employees

  • Pain Management: A guide created by frendo’s medical advisor to help people understand the science behind chronic pain and find the right management techniques for improved quality of life.
  • Pelvic Health: Videos and articles created by frendo’s pelvic floor physio.
  • Fertility: Guidance on how to test different hormones, find appropriate IVF clinics, and credible resources on the ways endometriosis and fertility impact one another and how to tackle them.
  • Nutrition: Exclusive recipes, shopping lists and research articles to help endometriosis sufferers regulate hormones and ease symptoms, created by frendo’s dietician.
  • Movement: Tailored pilates and yoga videos curated by frendo’s pilates and yoga teacher.
  • Mindfulness: A series of episodes that guide users through relaxation techniques that conquer feelings of anxiety, overwhelm and insomnia.

About frendo

frendo is a digital health solution founded by Dearbhail Ormond in 2020 to support endometriosis sufferers, those awaiting diagnosis, and everyone who is trying to support them. It started as a social network, then a symptom tracker, and now it’s grown into so much more. It harnesses technology and evidence-based science to help people understand the condition and manage symptoms through a multidisciplinary approach. frendo offers both a consumer (B2C) and business (B2B) offering via frendo@work, helping individuals, partners, families, companies, and medical institutions tackle endometriosis with the vigour it needs.