Do hormone levels affect nails?


I’m curious about women who are going through menopause or who have had hysterectomies and lack the proper amount of estrogen in their systems. I’ve noticed during my 19 years as a nail technician a similar symptom in women lacking estrogen: tired toenails. I can usually pick out women with low estrogen levels by looking at their toenails. I know this sounds strange, but in every case the toenails lack luster and have dry ridges, usually on the big toenails. The condition doesn’t show up as often on the fingernails.

These clients always tell me they aren’t on estrogen. Their general complaint is that their skin is also very dry, regardless of how often they apply a moisturizing lotion. I tell them to mention their complaints to their doctor, and it’s amazing how many of these customers come back any tell me the doctor put them on estrogen and how they’ve already noticed a difference in their skin and toenails. They say they even feel better overall.

I would like your opinion on my observations. Also, I understand that some people have problems taking estrogen and I wonder if there is anything else, such as vitamins, that will help this condition.


To the best of my knowledge, there are no specific changes to the nails associated with post-hysterectomy or menopausal women. However, estrogen levels do have an effect on all body systems. It is true that nails become more dry and dull with age, and hormones may indeed play a role in these changes. Changes in the body’s hydration levels also affect the skin; thus, I do believe your astute clinical observations may be valid. I have had patients tell me the same thing regarding estrogen and their nails.

Vitamins occasionally have helped and are therefore worth a try. Biotin, specifically, has been reported to improve brittle nails.

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