World Menopause Day | With Shelly Horton & Friends


October is World Menopause Awareness Month with World Menopause Day happening on October 18. Here at Curvy Swimwear we engage with pre, peri, menopausal and post menopausal women daily. Their experiences affect every aspect of their life, including swimwear shopping. 

We hear the stories of physical symptoms such as body changes, weight gain, and hot flashes, but there is so much more to menopause than meets the eye. There are numerous physical, hormonal, emotional, and mental symptoms that can effect women years before their period actually stops, and for many years after. 

For so long, menopause has been dismissed as something that women have to endure as part of their life cycle. Very little has been studied medically, with many doctors admitting that menopause formed a miniscule part of their training, if even offered at all. 

To bring menopause into the spotlight, many doctors, celebrities, and public figures are openly discussing their experiences and discoveries. In Australia, the menopause discussion has been championed by a number of women including Shelly Horton, Dr Ginni Mansberg, and Alison Brahe-Daddo. Friends of Curvy Swimwear, Nikki Parkinson and Jenni Eyles have also been vocal about their experiences in order to help others navigate this difficult time. 

We have been fortunate to have some of these fabulous women answer some questions we had about menopause. Their responses are honest, passionate, and eye opening. 

Shelly Horton 

Shelly is a media guru who advocates for women's health. She founded Don't Sweat It! with Dr Ginni Mansberg, a resource for navigating menopause in the workplace. The dynamic duo have created the world's first online education course on menopause in the workplace, offering retreats, workshops, webinars, and more.

We asked Shelly about her personal experience as well as her thoughts on menopause in society. Her responses are both passionate and informative and we are so grateful to her for sharing. 


How do you envision the conversation around peri/menopause changing in the next decade?

I think next decade will be light and shade in comparison to where we are now. I think that will be on the same trajectory as mental health, remember 10 years ago so when there was so much shame and stigma about having mental health problems particularly in the workplace? Now that is completely gone and there are systems and policies and ways that you can help people to manage their poor mental health.  

The same help will be in place for perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. I think that menopause policies at work will be compulsory within a couple of years and that the onus will be on the workplace is to make sure that their workplaces are menopause friendly. I think it will be a compulsory part of training to be a GP (can you believe it’s not now?). I think that women are going to be so comfortable speaking about it that they're not going to have the shame and stigma that has existed all the way from the dawn of time till now.

What’s one common misconception about peri/menopause that you’d like to debunk?

That peri and menopause it's just a natural part of life so women just need to suck it up. Just like women gave birth in the field hundreds of years ago, it doesn’t make it ok now. Women died in childbirth back then. Back then women were committed to asylums or committed suicide. 

People don't realise how severe the symptoms can be. I think the more education that's out there they will understand that there are 42 different symptoms of perimenopause, and the main three symptoms are hot flushes, brain fog and depression and anxiety. Depression and anxiety affect one in three women going through perimenopause and menopause. One in three! It is the highest risk of suicide for a woman’s entire life (higher than those who have postnatal depression) so it needs to be taken seriously. 

Don't give me your **** about pushing through it naturally and just take some herbal supplements. You need to advocate for your own health. Do some research. Keep a cycle and mood diary to help medical professionals help you. 

HRT saved my life. The benefits of HRT outweigh the risks. The risk of getting breast cancer is the same as having one extra glass of wine a night. But you don’t see women throwing away wine due to worry over breast cancer. Get evidence-based information from a medical professional who knows what they're talking about. I get really angry about this, being told your symptoms are “just what women go through” is medical gaslighting.   

What’s your favourite self care tip for women navigating the monopausal transition?

Be kind to yourself! Rest! When peri started for me at 46, I still pushed myself so hard and I made demands on my body pretending I was still 27 years old.  Now I've turned 50 I'm realising how important rest is and that my body needs time to recuperate. I still work really hard. I have 22 interstate flights in the next six weeks for MCing work. I know I'm going to need some time off and proper down time once that busy period finishes.  

I also never want to step inside a gym again, I just can't believe I used to do HIIT training and workout until I wanted to vomit. Now I want to exercise but in a gentle way, so it's walks on the beach, it's swimming, it's deep water running, it's dancing. Movement to make me happy not as punishment.   

What is your key piece of advice that you offer women in the workplace experiencing symptoms of peri/menopause?

Ask your senior leaders for education.  Ask them if there's a workplace menopause policy. Of course, I suggest you go to and we can help you!

I think that women have been quiet for so long and women have been hiding their symptoms. Most workplaces would be shocked to discover that one in ten women actually leave their job because of their symptoms. They don’t tell their workplace that’s why (hell some women don’t even realise it themselves they just feel overwhelmed and lack the confidence they used to have). This is a workplace issue and it's something that affects their bottom line as well as affecting their very experienced, incredibly well trained female leaders in their company that are a great resource so of course you want to retain them and help them through this really difficult time. I think we need to all get on board and support each other because that's the only way forward.

MORE OF SHELLY : Don't Sweat It 

Nikki Parkinson

Former journalist, Nikki Parkinson, is a blogger, social media influencer, fashion designer, and author. If you're a woman of menopausal age, chances are you are a big fan of Nikki. She has been a constant and comforting presence on social media for thousands of women for over 15 years. 

Nikki has written and spoken extensively on the topic and has even collaborated with Shelly Horton at her Don't Sweat It retreats. Nikki is a dear friend of Curvy Swimwear and we are blessed to have her share her personal experience with peri/menopause. 


What advice would you give to your premenopausal self to prepare her for this stage of life?

It's not so much for my perimenopausal self but for all women in their 40s. When I went through peri, no-one was talking about it. I didn't have the words to ask a health professional about possible help and treatment. I just thought I had to put up with it. Now, thankfully more people are talking about it and key experts around the world are working to get our health professionals better educated on peri and menopause. Arm yourself with information so that if you do end up with symptoms that affect your day-to-day life, you can seek out a health professional who'll help you through it.  You don't have to wait until post-menopause to be treated with hormones.

Dr Louise Newson in the UK is a stand-out in this field. Her book, app and podcast are great starting points for educating yourself after peri and menopause. 

What has been the biggest challenge for you during peri/menopause?

My biggest physical challenge was flooding. I'd never had heavy periods before but they became so heavy during the decade of peri that I couldn't leave the house on day one and two. And if I had to, not even period underwear and double tampons would contain it. My body also struggled to maintain iron levels because of this.

Mentally, my biggest challenge was anxiety (3am wake ups; heart palpitations and a feeling of dread and fear about everything), which I experienced for the first time in what was to become my final two years of peri. I now know that I could have been treated with hormones to help with this.

Was there anything good or bad that surprised you about Peri/menopause?

The good bit was getting to that 12 months post my last period and being officially post-menopausal. You never know it's your last period but knowing 12 months on that I'd never have one again was liberating. I've also been on HRT since then and it's been such a great thing for me. I sleep well. My brain is less foggy and I know, from listening to Dr Newson, that I'm helping my future heart and bone health by taking hormones.

MORE OF NIKKI :  Read Nikki's Menopause Blog 

Jenni Eyles

Our fabulous friend, Former Styling Curvy blogger and Neon Cherry designer, Jenni Eyles, is living a beautiful life. Her award winning blog charted her experience with cancer and recovery as well as styling her curves in the most fashionable way. A pioneer of self-love and body confidence, Jenni has inspired thousands of women to live authentically and gently. 

Jenni embodies self-compassion and we love following her journey through life as she navigates physical, mental, and emotional change. She shares her experience of menopause from the unique perspective of a cancer thriver, and we appreciate her generosity in sharing this with us. 


What advice would you give to your premenopausal self to prepare her for this stage of life?

Educate yourself. Listen to women, read a book or listen to a podcast or two. Be aware (but not alarmed) that your body is going to do some crazy shit, but know that there is help out there. Whether you choose a G.P., gynecologist or other wellbeing modalities (I suggest all of them), you will get through this.

You won't be the same, but just as we change with most decades over our lifetime and with the right help you will be a different and more empowered version of you.

What has been the biggest challenge for you during peri/menopause?

Firstly I was thrown into menopause at 41 because of chemotherapy and 5 years of hormone therapy due to a breast cancer diagnosis. My mood swings and periods had started to dramatically alter about 12 months before my diagnosis so I had an inkling my body was teetering towards 'the change'.

However having my body forced into menopause meant there was no soft slide into side effects, it was BAM we are going to give you allll the side effects allll at once and you will need to deal with these while undergoing multiple surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Then at 46 I had my ovaries and tubes removed (an oophorectomy) and BAM my hormones gave me one more power punch for good measure. Fun times!

Having my eyesight, teeth and skin change so dramatically has been my biggest challenge, especially the eyesight. Also, loss of libido and thinning hair has been challenging. There's been a few!

Menopause can really dent a woman's confidence which is why it's important to have supportive friends, an understanding partner and an open minded medical/wellbeing team in your corner.

Was there anything good or bad that surprised you about Peri/menopause?

I think I found an even bigger push to be kinder to myself. I chose to look after myself on less of a superficial level and more of a 'I wanna be well and mobile and at ease in my body as I age' kind of way. I'm not one to wish for what I once had, accepting that change is all part of the journey of life makes bumpy challenges easier to deal with. 



We are so grateful to these amazing and inspiring women for sharing their personal experiences and wealth of knowledge in the menopause space. If you want to take a deeper dive into more gems of wisdom and experience, we suggest you check out these celebrities and medical professionals. 


Celebrities Discussing Menopause

Naomi Watts

Stacy London

Alison Brahe-Daddo


Medical Professionals and Resources

Don’t Sweat It

I Am Stripes

Dr Ginni Mansberg

Dr Mary Claire Haver

Dr Somi Javaid

Dr Louise Newson

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.