Women between the ages of 45 and 55 experience significant emotional and physical changes related to menopause. Waning estrogen and progesterone stores affect sleep patterns, body temperature, mood, sex drive, hydration, and concentration, and skin, hair and nail health. With chin hair growth, thinning hairline, and difficulty maintaining weight women feel betrayal by their bodies. One wonderful pick-me-up comes from pretty nails.
With dehydration a common symptom of menopause, women find their hair is without luster, their skin appears dry, and their nails are brittle and torn. As estrogen levels decrease during menopause women, need to moisturize, hydrate, and pamper their bodies to diminish the effects of hormonal imbalances on the skin and nails. With a few simples changes to diet, exercise, and nail care women can rejuvenate their skin and boost nail health.
Caring for NailsNails are not dead tissue but living cells. They grow new cells, need to breathe and require nourishment. Let nails breathe occasionally by cleaning and exposing fresh nails to air. Those harsh soaps and cleaning chemicals dry and damage nails. Wearing gloves when cleaning and doing the dishes can help nails retain their moisture. Strangely, too much water can damage nails, as well. Hands can absorb one-forth their weight in water. Nail beds expand then contract and dry, similar to leather exposed to water. A dry home in winter increases allergies, colds, and drying and cracking skin and nails.
Use a humidifier in the house during those dry winter months to enhance skin, hair and nail health as well as decrease the family’s susceptibility to colds and illness. Some of the best remedies for dry nails sit in the kitchen cabinet, such as olive and canola oil. Warm these oils and rub them into the cuticles, nail beds, hands, and feet at bedtime to moisturize skin.
Avoid the use of harsh acetone polish removers. For yellowing nails, white vinegar or vapor rubs can renew nail color as well as diminish nail fungus. A conditioning soak that strengthens, heals, and nourishes nails include fish oil. Open a capsule of fish oil and vitamin E, mix with almond oil and apply to fingernails and toenails, cover with gloves or socks at bedtime.
Nails will feel soft and look pretty. This technique helps reduce drying and cracking from exposure to summer heat, pool chemicals and damage from open-toed summer shoes. To heal unsightly toenail fungus, apply vapor rub used for chest colds into the nail bed and cover with socks each evening before bed for several weeks. This home remedy heals nails and returns natural color.
Healthy NailsExamine nail beds and cuticles after cleaning. Nail health can be indicative of overall health and illness. Nails with white spots can be a sign of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Colorless nail beds can be a sign of anemia. Pitted and spoon shaped nails can be a sign of thyroid dysfunction and soft nails, a sign of poor nutrition. Nails that bend easily are calcium deficient and protein deficient, according to nail doctors, nail wellness.
Food for Nail HealthBiotin helps nails to thicken. Foods such as legumes or beans, cauliflower, and nuts can increase nail health. Almonds, foods rich in vitamin E and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids also increase hydration and moisturize skin, nails, and hair. Women who take 2500 micrograms of biotin a day will improve nail strength. Healthy, unsaturated monosatured fats in avocados and salmon bring a shine to hair and sheen to nails. Non-hydrogenated coconut oil smells wonderful, adds flavor to foods and is great for moisturizing nails, hair, and skin.
Calcium increases bone and joint strength as well as strengthens nail bed. Women who do not care for the taste of milk should try soymilk. Soy helps the body to produce estrogen stores, while providing sufficient calcium and iron to strengthen aging joints. Soymilk is an effective alternative for the lactose intolerant. Other soy foods include tofu, soy nuts that make a great snack, edemame, and apples. Mother may have recommended gelatin to strengthen nails. Women who enjoy desert gelatin can add this to the diet; however, gelatin carries little nutritional value compared to soy products, and omega fatty acids.
SupplementsA variety of alternative medicines can increase nail health. Biotin supplements allow women to increase their intake of Biotin beyond the ability of foods. Calcium supplements are also available in women’s vitamins and antacids. Supplements that enhance and nourish the pituitary and endocrine glands to produce estrogen stores maintain hormonal balances naturally. Supplements that replace estrogen with plant or animal estrogens reduce the body’s ability to manufacture estrogen and progesterone.
This phytoestrogen supplement also demands continued use beyond menopause to maintain hormone balances. Natural, pituitary and endocrine gland supplements do not require the long-term use. Other supplements for women who do not eat fish include flaxseed, or fish oil capsules. Keep fish oil supplements in the freezer and take while cold to avoid the fish after taste.
ConsiderationsA small percentage of women experiences nail damage unrelated to menopause. Ridged, soft, brittle, peeling nails that also do not grow may be a sign of a serious health condition such as thyroid or autoimmune disorders. Women should consult a medical health professional when they note deep ridges appearing in the nail beds, or note diminish nail growth. These women can discuss alternative therapies for nail health.
The majority of women, however, experience renewed nail strength, length, and thickness from simple changes to diet and nail care. Excess smoking or drinking caffeine and alcoholic beverages can dehydrate the hair, skin, and nails. Drinking plenty of water and taking supplements will increase overall health and renew nail beds and cuticles.