Canadian Doctor says Man Flu is Actually Real
Is Man flu a myth? In the British Medical Journal, the Canadian doctor Dr. Kyle Sue conducted several existing studies and discovered that there is evidence that men can actually experience more serious symptoms than women, rather than just being more susceptible to exaggeration and complaining.
Just in time for the flu season, a new article in the Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal investigates the science behind a debate that has been sniffing for years sniffing, coughing men and angry women.
Is the “male flu” a current medical condition? Do men suffer from worse flu symptoms than women?
Or are men just more cumbersome than women and are they sicker if they have a bug? The term “men’s flu”, which evokes insult to men, has reached the Oxford dictionary: “A cold or a similar mild condition as experienced by a man who is considered exaggerated the severity of the symptoms.”
Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor of general medicine at St. John’s Memorial University, decided to study available research to see if he could arrange the debate with science.
His conclusion? There is evidence, albeit limited, that the male flu is actually nothing to sneeze at.
“I think the symptoms are real,” Sue said. “And they are worse.
For the Canadian doctor it was all about science, but it was also personal.
“I got criticism because I had exaggerated my symptoms when I had flu,” he told CBC News from Aviator, Nunavut, where he is the only doctor in the community. “I thought, you know what, this would be an interesting subject to look at.”
He says the studies actually point to men with a weaker immune system than women.
“Testosterone is a hormone that actually works as an immunosuppressant, while estrogen works in the opposite direction: they stimulate the immune system,” he told CBC News. “So men with higher testosterone eventually become more sensitive to viral airways and tend to make them worse.”
Sue admits that the evidence is limited, especially because it goes with many mice. He says that more research of higher quality needs to be done to determine definitively whether human flu is a real medical illness phenomenon.
Nonetheless, he says, the available evidence suggests that men are more affected by flu than women.
“The whole point of doing this article is to prove that men are not sullen,” he said in an interview. “Actually, we are suffering from something we have no control over … [We] should get the benefit of the doubt instead of being criticized because it does not function properly during the flu or cold.”
But, in keeping with the cheerful spirit of the season – and with the tongue planted firmly on the cheek – Sue also wrote about the benefits of a ‘less robust immune system‘. In times of illness, men can save their energy by lying on the couch or not getting out of bed.
“Perhaps it is now time for male-friendly spaces, equipped with huge televisions and adjustable seats, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of human flu in safety and comfort.