A large, long-term study on HRT was halted because the women taking part had a clear increase in the incidence of breast cancer.

There was also an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, blood clots and endometrial and uterine cancer.

Another study published in May 2003 showed women on HRT to be at increased risk of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia.

HRT can worsen conditions such as asthma, heart failure, epilepsy, depression and migraine.

Some argue the statistical risks of HRT are tiny. This might be an acceptable rate of "collateral damage" but why take risks at all?

The menopause is not a disease but a normal life process.

There is no scientific evidence women can avoid the risks by taking HRT for a short time or that the risk disappears as soon as the drug is stopped.

There is no reliable way to identify women who are at low risk.

Millions of women are getting the message - HRT is harmful. Many doctors, researchers and drug companies are not happy.

HRT, contraceptive pills, anti-hypertension and anti-cholesterol drugs are big, worldwide moneymakers.

Every woman will experience menopause and its symptoms differently and deserves to be treated as an individual. One-for-all drugs are not an answer.

The hormonal system is maintained in a delicate balance through a complicated system of supply and demand and feedback loops.

When hormone levels change, there's a ripple effect throughout the body, bringing far-ranging and unforeseen consequences.

These changes can cause physical and emotional stress. Educating women about their health, physiology and their choice of treatments empowers them to decide for themselves.

Homeopathy offers a unique natural, safe and very successful approach to the management of menopause.

A constitutional remedy, based on the totality of woman's symptoms and her physical, mental and emotional state, is the best choice of treatment.

Although the symptoms go away on their own in time, a correctly chosen homeopathic remedy often helps to ease them. There are many remedies which can be successfully self-prescribed.

However, the guidance of a qualified homeopath will ensure swift and lasting relief and generally improved health.

Various herbs and supplements, though natural, can still produce side-effects and toxicity. While some women suffer no side-effects from HRT, the majority experience a host of them.

Homeopathy has been treating women around the world for more than 200 years so you never have to wonder what tomorrow's news will bring.

Trends, profits and politics play no part in homeopathy. Swift, gentle and permanent cure is the only goal.

Around 70 per cent of homeopathic patients are women receiving treatment for female issues - PMS, menopause, infertility, pregnancy and labour support, cysts, fibroids and menstrual irregularities.

So say goodbye to hot flushes, mood swings, anxiety, sleepless nights, low energy, loss of libido and other symptoms experienced by menopausal women.

Elizabeth Whitney is a qualified, registered homeopath and can be contacted at Advanced Homeopathic Centre, 20 New Road, Brighton. Call 01273 390938 or email elizabethwhitney@onetel.net.uk