8 Ways to Take Care of Brittle Nails Affected by Menopause

Last updated 12.11.2023 | by Sabrina Johnson | 9 Minutes Read

This article has been reviewed and fact checked by Dr. Karen Pike, a senior physician administrator and board-certified emergency room doctor actively working in northern California. Read more at our medical disclaimer page.


You may be stressing more about hot flashes and night sweats than anything else. True, brittle nails aren’t too alarming a symptom of menopause. But, when you neglect the changes in your nails and don’t take proper care, you could risk damaging them in the long run. 

An electronic survey of 1547 respondents showed that around 54.7% had broken hair, brittle nails, and dry skin. However, of the 1547 survey participants, only 594 responses were recorded. So, we can assume that of the 54.7%, those with only nail issues could be a lesser percentage. 

My friend once lamented her long, smooth, shiny nails losing luster and shine. Some women experience brittle, broken, and flaky nails. Fortunately, my nails did not go through any massive transformation. All thanks to my doctor, who always advised me to remain hydrated and even gave me skin care tips. 

Your lifestyle greatly influences your nails, skin, hair, and overall health. So, are you troubled with brittle nails of late? Is it so that you aren’t able to figure out the reason? Are you in your 40s? Then, I could perhaps help you find the missing link. You are transitioning into menopause, and it is the deed of the hormonal imbalances. Read my article for a more detailed account of the reasons behind brittle nails and tips for caring for them. I have covered it all. Here we go.

Why Do Your Nails Become Britlle in Menopause?

The main reason for your changing nail texture is the declining hormone levels, particularly estrogen.

If you thought that estrogen only helps in reproduction, you were mistaken. They have several non-reproductive functions also. These hormones help to regulate essential body functions, which include the brain, skeletal system, and cardiovascular system. Estrogens even help in keeping your skin, hair, and nails healthy.

In the perimenopause phase, estrogen levels start to decline, and with the onset of menopause, their numbers are drastically low. Keratin, the hardened protein, is the main component that makes your nails.

Reduced estrogen levels reduce our body’s ability to regulate fluids efficiently. This leads to dehydration and may affect keratin levels, causing them to decrease. Inadequate keratin production causes your nails to become flaky and brittle.

How to Take Care of Brittle Nails During Menopause?

How to Take Care of Brittle Nails During Menopause

There isn’t much you can do to avoid the change in your nails, as it is the aftereffect of menopause.

However, it would help if you took good care of your nails to ensure that there isn’t any further deterioration in their color and texture.

1. Moisturize Your Hands Well

When you moisturize your hands using a moisturizer of good quality, it will help your nails appear stronger[1]. When choosing a moisturizer for your nails, research well and go for ones devoid of harsh chemicals since that could make your nails drier and increase irritation.

It is advisable to choose moisturizers containing Vitamin E. It fights against free radical damage and safeguards the nails from viruses and bacteria. It also helps to hydrate the nails and heal the nail plate and the skin around it. Also, when checking the ingredient list of moisturizers, it is apt to choose those with avocado and shea butter.

Avocado contains potassium that helps to increase the keratin content., thus helping to strengthen the nails. It also has Vitamin E, which adds to the shine and fosters healthy growth.

Shea butter has Vitamins A and E that provide nourishment to the nails. The fat content present in it helps the nails to remain shiny and moisturized throughout the day.

When looking for home remedies, coconut oil is one of the best and readily available options. It helps to hydrate your nails and keep them strong. The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil minimize nail infections.

For better nourishment, you could warm coconut oil for about 20 seconds. Apply them to your nails before bedtime. Cover your hands with thin cotton gloves and see the marvelous effect the following day. This is one of my nail care remedies. I hold no credit for it, as this tip was passed on to me by a friend.

The best time to moisturize your hands is after you bathe or wash your hands. In this way, it will prevent the nails from getting brittle and dry.

2. Remain Hydrated

It is essential to remain hydrated in menopause to keep your nails in good shape and boost your overall health. Females should drink at least 11.5 cups or 2.7 liters of fluids daily[2].

So, when in menopause, ensure that you adhere to this limit. Besides water, you can include healthy beverages in your diet, like herbal teas, buttermilk, etc.

It would help if you also reduce caffeine intake, which isn’t considered a healthy option in menopause. Moreover, caffeine also prevents your nails from thriving[3]. It was later that I realized that by cutting down on caffeine intake, I wasn’t just saving myself from a severe hot flash episode but also sparing my overall health from the after-effects of increased caffeine consumption.

3. Wear Rubber Gloves During Cleaning

When cleaning, tending to your plants, or doing any household chores, it is always advisable to wear rubber gloves to save your nails from damage.

You should follow this even more when using any cleaning products with harsh chemicals. Constant exposure to the chemicals could result in severe nail damage. A friend once suggested that I wear nitrile gloves to protect my nails from harsh chemicals.

Wearing gloves during chores is essential always, irrespective of whether you are in your menopause or not. But, in menopause, you must be extra cautious about minute details.

4. Eat Healthy

When you are in perimenopause or have already experienced menopause, maintaining a healthy diet is of utmost importance.

Certain foods would help with nail growth. The first on the list is eggs because of their Vitamin D content. Vitamin D allows the nails to remain strong and lessens the risks of chipping and peeling[4].

To ensure healthy nails, you should eat fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins, proteins, and minerals like magnesium and zinc. Here are some of the foods that must be included in the diet. These are:

  • Leafy greens (Lettuce, spinach, kale, cabbage, chard)
  • Lentils
  • Fish
  • Dairy products
  • Beans
  • Strawberries
  • Orange
  • Whole grains (Quinoa, barley, brown rice,
  • Cashew
  • Almond
  • Peanut
  • Edamame
  • Soy
  • Mango
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Chickpeas
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Beef
  • Sesame seeds
  • Flaxseeds

Moreover, to remain hydrated, you should also add foods and veggies to your diet, which will help to retain your body’s moisture content and keep you hydrated. They are as follows:

  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Melon
  • Peach
  • Pineapple 
  • Grape
  • Berry
  • Orange
  • Cantaloupe
  • Lettuce
  • Broccoli
  • Carrot
  • Bell pepper 
  • Cabbage

5. Go For Manicure

When you manicure your nails regularly, in 2-3 weeks, it helps keep your nails clean and lessens the chances of infections.

Manicure involves removing the dead cells from the area surrounding the nails. It fosters the growth of new cells, thereby contributing towards healthier and stronger nails.

A manicure session each month will not just be beneficial for your nails. It will also give you a good scope for some me-time you need the most in menopause to manage your anxiety levels.

I would plan a manicure and pedicure every month with my girl gang. This helped with self-care and gave us a much-needed break from our busy schedules.

6. Prevent Nail Damage

Menopause makes your nails more sensitive, and any trigger could lead to further damage. Trim your nails routinely to prevent them from bending or breaking. Also, avoid biting your nails, which damages the surrounding tissues, preventing them from growing abnormally.

7. Avoid Acetone

In the perimenopause and menopause stages, your nails are already brittle and dry. Using nail removers with acetone could worsen matters further, making your nails all the more dry and brittle. It could even make the skin around the nails inflamed, itchy, dry, and red. Non-acetone removers would be a better option for your nails.

8. Exercise Well

Exercise and nails seem a weird combination. Well, you’ll be amazed to know that doing cardiovascular exercises regularly will take care of your heart and impact your nails in the long run.

Walking regularly or indulging in other activities like jogging, aerobics, etc., will improve blood circulation to your nails, boosting your nail health. Being on the move will contribute to your overall physical and mental well-being.

FAQs

Q. What are the ways to strengthen your nails naturally?

Some ways to naturally strengthen your nails include applying a good moisturizer, maintaining nail hygiene, and preventing your nails from damage. Also, it would help if you manicured your nails from time to time.

Q. When to contact the doctor for brittle nails?

Brittle nails can mainly be managed through home remedies and proper care. But, if you do not find them getting any better even after caring for them, then it could be concerning. Also, if you experience swelling, redness, and soreness around the skin folds of your nail, then seeking medical help is a must.

Q. Which supplements are helpful for brittle nails in menopause?

One of the leading supplements that helps in restoring brittle nails is biotin. Foods like avocado, yeast, salmon, sweet potato, nuts, cauliflower, seeds, and sweet potatoes have an increased concentration of biotin.
Vitamin C and collagen peptide supplements will also help to lessen brittle nails. However, always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Conclusion

So, to sum it up, taking good care of your nails is of utmost importance in menopause, when fluctuating hormone levels affect your nails immensely. Following a healthy diet, drinking a lot of water, and pampering your nails a little more than you mostly do will serve your purpose. 
Besides all these, you should also take care of your stress and anxiety levels. When you are stressed, the cortisol levels increase terribly. This leads to a reduction in biotin levels, which is pivotal in maintaining healthy, strong nails. So, a healthy and rejuvenated mind leads to a healthy body.

Author

  • Sabrina Johnson

    Meet Sabrina Johnson, a compassionate author and a seasoned expert in Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a driving force behind Simply Menopause, where her extensive medical knowledge and empathetic nature come together to empower women in their menopausal journey. Sabrina offers culturally sensitive guidance and support through her approachable writing, making her a trusted friend on the path to menopause wellness.