Maddening Menopausal Nails

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared an article about meandering down menopausal madness, so I’m republishing one of my articles I wrote for Hot Flash Daily. Be sure and check out this site for useful information on menopause, menopausal humor, and shared experiences of this bizarre life experience.

This article has to do with Mother Nature’s cruelty when it comes to our fingernails during menopause. Enjoy!


Just when awesome and fun nail art for every occasion – ranging from stripes, bow ties, and even funny sock monkeys – becomes all the rage, I hit menopause.

I mean, who doesn’t want beautiful nails during this time in our life to distract people from noticing our unflattering weight gain, sweaty foreheads, and five-inch long chin hairs? But, NOOO… menopause has other evil plans.

If you’ve noticed that your nails constantly break, split, and chip since perimenopause started, it’s no coincidence. Fluctuations in estrogen along with dehydration can lead to weak and brittle nails. Yup, it’s that darn lack of moisture causing more problems again. On top of that, we suffer from extra stress and anxiety due to menopausal madness that makes us want to mangle our fingernails into mannish stumps. As a result, nail biting can reach new heights.

So while other women are busy admiring each other’s manicures, I’m self-consciously hiding my ugly, brittle fingernails behind my ever-growing behind. Often tardy on trends, I wanted to be in on this one, darn it!

So some research was in order to do something about my ragged, dreadful nails. Here’s what the experts recommend:

Drink More Water

Really? Again? I’m drinking more water than I ever have in my life – and it hasn’t been the cure-all for all my menopausal woes like bloating, hot flashes, and dry skin like these experts have promised. In fact, if I hear this piece of advice one more time, I am personally going to hunt down these know-it-alls and help them to a glass of water – down their pants.

Wear Gloves

Gloves remind me of painful and humiliating pelvic and rectal exams, dentist offices, and hospitals. Why would I wear them around the house? Do I really want to look like Mickey Mouse? Although it might be a good idea to wear a pair when I visit those experts mentioned above so I don’t leave any fingerprints.

Nails 2Get a Manicure

This advice is meant for nail biters like me. Supposedly, if you pay to get your nails done and your nails look pretty you won’t want to chew on them. The trouble with this advice is that when the manicurist inevitably starts lecturing me on biting my nails, or asks me why my nails are so brittle, or wags her head in disgust, I want to kill her.


This one is also for nail-biters. If you have an urge to put something in your mouth, experts suggest chewing a stick of sugarless gum or gnawing on a carrot or celery stick. Forget that. Now, eating chocolate and drinking wine would distract me and make me feel better about this whole ugly nail problem at the same time.

Keep Your Hands Occupied

Does keeping my hands busy by choking irritating people count?

Use a Buddy System

How about forming a “No Nail Nibbling” team to support each other? Seriously? Am I 12? Supposedly sharing the goal of getting your nails back into shape and holding each other accountable is a great way to succeed. Except when my nail buddy nags me about nibbling my nails for the ninth time, I can’t guarantee what will happen.

Stay Hydrated by Avoiding Caffeine and Wine

No and no.

Moisturize Hands and Cuticles

Use a good quality moisturizer and massage a small amount around your cuticle and nails several times a day. Or soak your fingernails in warm oil once a day. Moisturize your hands at night and wear white cotton gloves to sleep to keep moisture in. Stay away from nail polish remover that contains formaldehyde and acetone since they dry out your nails.

All right, all right. Maybe this last one is doable. Because I want those cute little sparkly stars and tiny cupcakes on my nails too! Or maybe I’ll just skip all this annoying advice and get acrylic nails instead.

Images courtesy of stockimages and imagerymajestic at


Julie A. Gorges is the author of two young adult novels, Just Call Me Goody Two Shoes and Time to Cast Away and co-author of Residential Steel Design and Construction published by McGraw Hill. In addition, hundreds of her articles and short stories have been published in national and regional magazines, and she received three journalism awards from the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association while working as a newspaper reporter. Julie currently lives in southern California with her husband, Scott, and has two grown children and three grandchildren.

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8 Responses

  1. These are great tips Julie and I especially needed the reminder to moisturize – duh! It’s not like I don’t have several bottles around to easily access, it’s just I’m always too busy getting on to the next thing to spend the 30 seconds to use it. Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Hi Julie! Nice to meet you. Thank you for your tips and your humour. I know I’ve enjoyed an article when I can learn something and have a chuckle at the same time. This article did that for me. Thanks again!

  3. Betty Eitner says:

    I needed a good chuckle this morning and you have definitely provided one…. Thank you & have a great day!

  4. I’m also suffering from dryer brittle nails in my pregnancy -and although I can’t relieve any stress with lots of caffeine and alcohol I can indulge in some yummy chocolate! Only thing that works for me is regular trimming to keep them stronger. Happy nail art fun! Xxx

    • juliegorges says:

      Congrats on your pregnancy! Funny how menopause and pregnancy share some of the same symptoms. Thanks for taking the time to comment and best of luck with your upcoming birth!

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