DEALING with the menopause can be tricky for any woman going through "The Change". With so much controversy surrounding hormone replacement therapy and its links to breast cancer, many women are now looking for alternatives.

TV personality Angela Rippon has become a high-profile voice for menopausal women and she is happy to talk about how she got through those difficult years in her early 50s.

Initially Angela, 58, was on HRT to help combat the threat of osteoporosis and now she is taking a red clover food supplement - and life has never been better.

"I really do feel wonderful. Women need to know that the menopause isn't life-threatening but it is life-changing and something you have to work through.

"You can manage your menopause in such a way that it doesn't take over your life," she said.

The taboo that once surrounded the whole subject is finally starting to lift and women are feeling more able to discuss what is happening to their bodies and what options they have for treatment.

"There is no need for women to feel so isolated. If you talk to your girlfriends you can share experiences and maybe find a different way of dealing with it," she said.

Angela said that although there had been a great deal of negative publicity about HRT, it still worked for an awful lot of women and the risks of breast cancer had to been seen in the proper context.

"I have done a lot of research on this matter for a report I did for the Trevor Macdonald Tonight programme. There is a risk with HRT but it is a calculated risk - and we all take risks every day when we get in our cars and drive down the road.

"You have to weigh up the pros and cons.

"The most important thing to realise is that there is a lot of information out there that you can access so you can get the best treatment for you," she said.

Angela is full of praise for the red clover supplement which is a natural product. The isoflavins in red clover produce phyto-oestrogen which is similar to oestrogen and helps women during and after the menopause.

"Isoflavins occur in beans, curds and soya and in countries like Japan, China and South America where they eat a lot of these foods, women do not suffer from the same menopausal symptoms.

"In Japan they don't even have a word in their language for menopause.

"Red clover is rich in isoflavins and has helped me and some of my girlfriends enormously," she said.

For more information on red clover and a directory of help regarding every aspect of the menopause contact the Novogen Careline on 0845 603 1021.

The Amarant Trust is a health care charity set up in the early 1980s to promote a better understanding of the menopause and hormone replacement therapy. A full information pack containing the latest leaflets and a list of menopause and HRT clinics around the country is available for £6 from the Amarant Trust, Sycamore House, 5 Sycamore Street London EC1Y OSR

Women's Health, an independent organisation providing information and support to enable women to make informed decisions about their health, specialising in gynaecological issues can be contacted on 020 7251 6580 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 1.30pm

Daisy Network is a support group for women who have suffered a menopause before the age of 40. Details: