Are men simply whinier than women and act sicker when they have the flu? The question has been around for years and the term "man flu" has even made it into the Oxford Dictionary: "A cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms."
However, now new research suggests that all that whining, sniffing and coughing that men tend to do when they experience the flu may actually be because men suffer from worse symptoms than women.
According to Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University in St. John's, the flu symptoms are real.
"I've been criticized for exaggerating my symptoms when I had the flu," Sue told CBC News. "I thought. You know what? This would be an interesting topic to look into.”
"Testosterone is a hormone that actually acts as an immunosuppressant. Whereas estrogen works in the opposite direction. They stimulate the immune system," he told CBC News.
So it means that men with higher testosterone actually end up being more vulnerable to respiratory viruses and tend to get worse symptoms.
Sue admits the evidence is limited, particularly since much of it involved studying mice. He said that more research needs to be done to make conclusions as to whether man flu is an actual medical phenomenon.
Kyle Sue’s work led to a Twitter storm as many shared jokes about “man flu” and whether it is a myth or reality.
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