By Chelsie Sewell 

‘That time of the month’ is always looming for us girls, and some of us have it a lot harder than others. From wanting to chomp through the entire share bag of chocolate buttons in one sitting to feeling like you might bite your boyfriend's head off for just breathing, periods are notoriously known for playing with our emotions. Some nights you might spend crying into your tub of Häagen Dasz but you’re not entirely sure why, and sometimes the cramps have you popping pain relief for a few days in a row. And don’t get me started on the heavy bleeding days when you have to go into work or school….leaking anxiety is real..  

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Image courtesy of Pixabay

But whilst all of these things, for most of us, are an inconvenience for a week or so, some girls, with Endometriosis, suffer all month long. Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that usually grows on the inside of the uterus….grows on the outside, and as it has no way to exit the body,  it becomes trapped. This then causes painful periods, sex, excessive bleeding, extreme fatigue, and even infertility. And whilst 1 in 10 women suffer from this condition, it still seems that there is a ‘taboo’ surrounding it.

Jada Griffin, 20,  was diagnosed with Endometriosis earlier this year and said: ”The only thing that eases the pain is curling up in a ball and that’s not something you can do at work. I normally phone in every month for at least 2-3 sick days around the time of my period and it really makes me anxious about what my employer thinks about me.  

“If a period holiday was introduced I feel it would make a lot of women, including myself feel a lot less guilty (and also less embarrassed) for taking time off during our periods.”

Period holidays or better known as ‘Menstrual Leave’ have been prevalent in some countries for hundreds of years, (right back to 1920 in Japan)! The concept means that women get a designated time off for their period, with no questions asked. For example, in Indonesia, women get two paid days of leave for their period per month, however, the paid/unpaid conditions vary depending on the country. And whilst this does raise questions and controversies, women with endometriosis could definitely benefit from having something like this in place.

Jada told me that endometriosis consumes her entire life, and she often has to cancel plans, as the condition causes her pain the week before and after her period too.

She said: “I find it very difficult to get on with normal activities whilst on my period. I can’t go anywhere where I need to be standing for a long period of time whilst on my period. For example, whilst out food shopping, I try to make the trip as quick as possible and only go if it’s really essential.”

Maseera Solkar, an endometriosis sufferer, who is training to become a doctor said: “Women would feel much better supported. I work in a field where I have to be on the ball 24/7. I’m communicating with patients and trying to help them in hospital. If I’m not feeling 100% it will definitely affect my medical practise and lead to more errors.

Whilst the pandemic has shown that a lot of jobs can be done from home, this could be the perfect time to introduce period holidays as women have access to their work from the comfort of their bed or sofa, and it would stop them feeling ‘guilty’ for not going in.  

When questioned about controversies around period holidays, Jada said:  “A period holiday could potentially raise concerns about men not being given extra holiday days as well - despite a period holiday being for health-related issues. But I feel strongly that if we were granted a period holiday, women would only use it if absolutely necessary.”

And I agree!

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