Reality or a Sham? This New Study Sheds Light on the Man Flu Phenomenon
Man flu – is it real, or is it just some misconception? Well, studies suggest that it is totally a thing, so brace yourselves ladies; the season is on its way.
Ask any woman and she’ll tell you that man flu is just a cold whose symptoms the man in her life exaggerates.
Wives and girlfriends have laughed at memes depicting their “sick” and “helpless” men, while man flu websites have been at the end of their ridicule for years.
Luckily for the male species, this is all about to change thanks to recent research. While agreeing that they’re far from reaching a definitive conclusion on the topic, scientists reveal that existing evidence shows that men may not be exaggerating their symptoms after all.
Spearheading this conversation is Prof. Nafissa Ismail, director of the Neuroimmunology lab at the University of Ottawa. The professor and her team are currently conducting a series of investigations on mice, and their findings thus far are quite interesting.
The research team infects mice with lipopolysaccharide groups that induce flu symptoms then observe their test subjects and each time, the males tend to be affected way much more than the female mice.
They display a higher fluctuation in body temperature, are more affected by appetite loss, and appear more lethargic and quite frankly, sickly. Their recovery period, as Prof. Ismail reveals, is always twice the amount of time female mice take to recover.
Speaking to Metro News, the professor admits to being surprised by this occurrence, a feeling that was present among other members of the research team.
Trying to find an explanation for this, Prof. Ismail says that it has got to be the effects of the hormone testosterone and its counterpart, estrogen.
The latter is found in abundance in women and has been shown to boost their immunity. Therefore, while flu may affect them heavily at first, they are able to recover quickly.
Testosterone, on the other hand, is abundant in men and in stark contrast to estrogen, suppresses their immune system. As such, an illness as simple as a cold may last longer among males, with the entire experience being more miserable for them compared to their female counterparts.
Not a Joke
It’s no longer funny now ladies, is it? Whenever your man seems sickly and all, would you please show him some tender loving and care? He’ll love you right back for it!
And unfortunately, this same hormone that boosts the female immune system has its own downside – it increases their risk of developing autoimmune diseases. Of the total percentage of people suffering from these ailments, women make the bulk of it, registering at 80%.
Further research on this should be done, but the current working theory is that estrogen’s intense response when the female body is under pathogen attack causes hyperactivity in the immune system.
Consequently, the overly active system may get it wrong from time to time to attack healthy cells. Should these attacks become incessant, in comes the autoimmune disorder? Tragic much?
While none of these theories are conclusive, the fact is that gender has a crucial role to play when it comes to how our bodies react to illnesses.
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