Nails grow faster on the hand that is used more frequently.
Of all the symptoms of menopause, cosmetic changes can at times be the hardest to deal with, robbing a woman of her sense of femininity and individuality. Unfortunately during this time period, many women suffer from brittle nails, which occur naturally with age and hormonal changes.
Read below to learn more about this common symptom, its characteristics, causes, and possible treatment options in order to restore nails back to their former strength and glory.
About Brittle Nails
How nails grow
To understand how changes such as brittle nails occur, it is helpful to learn more about the nail growth process. Both fingernails and toenails grow from roots underneath the skin, from the thin white semicircle at the base of the nail known as the lunula. This group of cells produces a substance called keratin, which forms the nails that protect women's fragile nail beds.
When the body is healthy, a woman's nails will grow with uniformity and strength. However, if nails are brittle, cracked, or there are changes in color, this can be an indication of imbalance or illness that is throwing off keratin production.
Characteristics of brittle nails
If a woman has always had strong, healthy nails, she may not recognize the signs of brittle nails. The following are the most common symptoms:
Keep reading to learn more about the possible causes of brittle nails in menopausal women in order to learn how to strengthen them and reverse this irritating symptom.
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Lots of women report experiencing dry, brittle nails, especially during times of hormonal imbalance like menopause. Fortunately, there are ways that you can fix this. This article describes the top five ways of helping dry, brittle nails back to strength and health, such as stopping smoking, protecting your hands with gloves, and staying hydrated.
Causes of Brittle Nails
While changes in nail appearance such as brittle nails can occur for a variety of reasons, the most likely cause for women of menopausal age is hormone fluctuation, particularly estrogen. One of the fundamental causes of weak or brittle nails is dehydration or lack of moisture in the body. Estrogen plays a key role in body water regulation and water retention. When a woman's body contains higher levels of estrogen, her overall body water levels will be higher as well, and correspondingly, when her estrogen levels are lower, this can lead to dehydration which manifests itself in such signs as dry, cracked, brittle nails.
Brittle Nails Causing Diseases
• Poor circulation
• Liver disease
• Thyroid problems
In addition to hormonal causes, dietary issues and certain diseases can have an effect on nail growth. Certain nutrients such as vitamin C, calcium, folic acid, protein, iron, and fat all help to build strong healthy nails. Stress and anxiety can also slow nail growth and lead to weak or brittle nails.
Fortunately, nail health is relatively easy to build. Read below to learn more about treatment options for brittle nails, which will make going to get a manicure a possibility once again.
Nails can become more brittle during menopause as a result of changing levels of estrogen. Fortunately, consuming more yogurts, which contains calcium, zinc, and iron, can help maintain nail health and strength. It can also help promote a strong immune system and digestive tract. Try incorporating yogurt into traditional meals, like tacos, pasta salads, and smoothies, to increase your daily boost of essential nutrients.
Treatment for Brittle Nails
Almonds contain fatty acids that are shown to improve nail growth. Eating as few as six almonds a day can produce visible results.
To banish the specter of brittle nails, it is best to use a tiered approach of treatment. Due to the fact that nail health in menopausal women involves both nutritional deficiencies as well as hormonal changes, there are two levels that the issue can be addressed on.
It is generally recommended that women begin with the least invasive option, which would be lifestyle changes. If brittle nails are being caused due to stress or poor nutrition, eating a balanced diet rich in protein, fat, and vitamin C can be extremely beneficial. Stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation can also help.
Lifestyle changes can be difficult to implement all at once for a busy woman, however. The most effective approach, as brittle nails in menopausal women is primarily caused by fluctuating levels of estrogen that leads to dehydration, is to treat the problem directly at the hormonal source. A variety of natural and alternative remedies exist that are able to address this imbalance. A combination of lifestyle changes and alternative medicine is the most effective and safest way to battle brittle nails.
If experiencing other symptoms that may indicate a disease of which brittle nails may be a symptom, it is recommended that women seek the advice of a healthcare professional. Discolorations or split nails can be signs of a more serious condition.
Most experts recommend that women who suffer from brittle nails and wish to treat it begin with lifestyle changes, then move onto alternative medicine (ideally combining the two) and finally, look to medications if nothing else seems to work. Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for brittle nails in these three categories.
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- Hutchinson, Susan M.D. "The Stages of a Woman's Life: Menstruation, Pregnancy, Nursing, Perimenopause, Menopause". November 2007.
- Love, Susan M.D. Menopause and Hormone Book. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2003.
- BMJ Group. "Menopause: What is it?" Patient Leaflet. 2007.