Working women's reproductive health, a key to improved output

MALAYSIA: New research has shown that the relationship between women’s reproductive health and their long-term productivity may be more closely connected than was previously thought.

Often stigmatised concerns such as endometriosis can wreak havoc on a woman's output, even if the condition is dormant.

According to Endometriosis Association of Malaysia medical adviser Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar, "Women coping with endometriosis symptoms lost between one and eight hours of weekly productivity due to either presenteeism (working without productivity) or absenteeism (missing work)."

The doctor added that most women opted not to disclose their condition to their employer or workmates so as not to be tagged as lazy, vulnerable, or "dramatic".

Endometriosis — a disease where reproductive tissues grow on abnormal areas causing pain and infertility — affects roughly 190 million reproductive-age women and girls worldwide. They experience severe life-impacting pain that causes depression, anxiety, and infertility.

In Malaysia, some 350,000 women have endometriosis, with treatments aimed at symptoms and life improvement. Presently, there is still no cure for it.

"It is often considered a normal and trivial problem regardless of whether the pain disrupts the quality of life," she said.

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