Canadian doctor says there's evidence the 'man flu' is actually real

Canadian doctor says there's evidence the 'man flu' is actually real

Nevertheless, he says, the available evidence does suggest men suffer more with the flu than women.

Most of the studies he found involved mice, and several of them showed female mice have stronger immune responses than males.

For example, a 10-year observational study from the US found that men had higher rates of flu-related deaths compared to women, while a study from Hong Kong found that adult men were more likely to be admitted to hospital due to flu.

Dr. Kyle Sue explored the science behind the so-called man flu, a phenomenon where men are accused of exaggerating their cold and flu symptoms. The investigators found that the estrogen reduced the levels of flu virus in the cells from female donors, but not male donors.

"Is there a physiological basis for that, or is it just that women are more resilient and able to juggle more things than men can", he said.

Despite the ubiquity of viral respiratory illnesses, no scientific study has looked into whether the term "man flu" is appropriate or accurate.

That said, there might be an evolutionary benefit to a less robust immune system, he added, as it has allowed men to invest their energy in other biological processes - such as growth, secondary sex characteristics (features that appear during puberty in humans) and reproduction. "Men are more susceptible to them, symptoms are worse, they last longer, and men are more likely to be hospitalized and die from the flu".

Still, more research in this area is needed, in part because some of the studies include in the review did not consider factors like smoking and preventive-care visits, which could affect people's overall health and their ability to respond to cold and flu viruses, Sue said.

When a man complains of cold or flu symptoms, it may not be fair to dismiss his laments as simply a case of "man flu".

MAN flu is real medics claim, with blokes suffering worse symptoms than women.

"Medically treating both genders exactly the same will do both genders a disservice", Sue said.

Canadian experts reviewed several worldwide studies into colds and flus.

Sue also cited studies which found women are more responsive to the flu vaccine than men, including one which found that high testosterone levels could weaken men's immune responses following flu vaccination.

Still, Lautenbach stressed that the analysis does not prove that a "man's response to a respiratory infection is, in fact, worse than a woman's and, if so, by how much".

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