Menopause can cause many changes, both psychological and physiological. Some of the most well-known menopausal symptoms include hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, and vaginal dryness. It can also be difficult to sort out what is a menopausal symptom, what is just caused by aging, and what symptoms are caused by a combination of menopause and aging. Brittle nails is one of those symptoms that may be due to a variety of factors.
As a woman goes through menopause, her estrogen levels decrease significantly, which causes many of the main symptoms of menopause. Dry and brittle nails may be triggered by a decline in estrogen, or they may be related to aging, a nutrient deficiency, or an underlying medical condition.
Strengthening Brittle Nails
The following tips can help you restore health to your nails.
Wear gloves when doing the dishes
Although nails need moisture, too much exposure to water can be detrimental. When nails absorb excess water, they expand and then contract when they have dried. This process can weaken nails over time.
Common household cleaners will also dry out and weaken nails, leading to torn and broken nails that feel weak. This means it is important to wear rubber gloves while doing household chores, especially when washing the dishes, because your nails are exposed to both water and cleaning chemicals for extended periods of time.
Vitamin A is not only important for strong and healthy nails, but also plays a significant role in maintaining good vision and for reducing the risk of acquiring certain diseases. Good sources of vitamin A include liver, whole milk, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables such as:
- Pumpkins and squashes
- Sweet potatoes
- Leafy green vegetables
Moisturize with natural oils
When nails are moisturized or massaged with a natural oil, they can become stronger and healthier. Natural oils made of olive, coconut, almond, avocado, or even plain vegetable oil are all nourishing treatments for nails. Massaging one of these oils into your nail beds will keep your nails feeling hydrated and your hands feeling soft. There are also over-the-counter nail moisturizers that you can purchase at your local pharmacy.
Good fat, also known as unsaturated fat, is necessary for maintaining healthy nails and hair. There are several foods - such as avocados, salmon, and nuts - that are rich in these essential fatty acids. Not only are healthy fats good for your nails, skin, and hair, but they also benefit the rest of your body by reducing bad cholesterol levels and reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Brittle nails may signify a deficiency in calcium. Although most people associate calcium with milk and dairy products, it is also found in soymilk, leafy greens, and foods that are calcium-fortified. Remember that you also need to get vitamin D in order to be able to absorb calcium.
Women should be able to strengthen their nails and improve their overall health following these five tips.
- American Heart Assocation. (2015). Monosaturated Fats. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Monounsaturated-Fats_UCM_301460_Article.jsp
- National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vitamin A. Retrieved October 12, 2015, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002400.htm