Have you ever teased a guy in your life for being whiny about his seemingly little cold? Well, it turns out that the “man flu” — aka, the term we use to jokingly tease men who seem to be complaining too much about catching a cold or the flu — may actually be a real condition.
According to a recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology: Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology, men may actually be suffering more than women when they catch a bout of the flu.
The Johns Hopkins University researchers behind the study, wanted to determine if estrogen — or lack thereof — has any effect on the replication of the virus. Although men do have some estrogen, women have significantly more, and the researchers wondered if this had something to do with the “man flu” and why there’s no equivalent of the term in women.
The study involved infecting nasal cells that were donated by both male and female donors with influenza. However, first, some of the cells were exposed to estrogen and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), which can produce “estrogen-like effects,” according to IFL Science. The female cells that were exposed to the SERMs resisted the virus far more than any of the other groups — including male cells exposed to SERMs, suggesting that the antiviral quality of estrogen is largely specific to women rather than men.
So what does this all mean? It could help scientists and researchers better understand how to combat the flu. “We see clinical potential in the finding that therapeutic estrogens that are used for treating infertility and menopause may also protect against the flu,” Klein said.
But for those who are suffering from the “man flu”. . . sorry, bud; rest up. Or ask your lady friend to sing you “Soft Kitty,” a la Sheldon’s mom.
(Image via Warner Bros Television.)