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The Man Flu: Why Men Suffer More Than Women

The Man Flu - Why Men Suffer More Than Women

When men get sick, they feel worse than when women get sick. There’s some science to back the ‘man flu’.

Throughout history, women have ridiculed the man’s way of expressing sickness. While women pull themselves together and go about their day, men stay in bed in complete misery, and it’s all because of the man flu.

Pregnant woman and sick manYes, women are better at hiding the common cold, and it has everything to do with body design of the two sexes.

The answer to why women and men react differently to illness lies is two, estrogen and testosterone.

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found that men and women have different reactions to infections and vaccinations.

In a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Stanford researchers found that higher levels of testosterone lead to weaker antibody response at times of illness.

Same study showed that men with lower testosterone levels had a better immune response, at times even similar to that of women.

Woman taking care of a sick manThe secret lies in the higher levels of signaling proteins that antibodies send back and forth when the female body is at risk.

While higher testosterone levels put men at risk, so do lower estrogen levels.

Estrogen, the female sex hormone, has shown to slow down the growth rate in viruses. This one of the main reasons that women experience fewer and less intense symptoms.

So when a man says he just can’t make it out of bed today – even though it is very likely that he’s just exaggerating – don’t ridicule that poor man, he just doesn’t have the estrogen for it.

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