Typically, when men get sick, the whole world knows. While women stuff kleenex up their noses as they dress, wrangle kids, make breakfast, and head to work, men are confined to their beds, bemoaning their terrible illness. Think I’m exaggerating? Now there’s proof that “man flu” really does exist and why.
Turns out, when men get sick, they really do feel worse than when women get sick, new research claims. Dr. Amanda Ellison, a neurologist at Durham University, is championing for mankind, aiming to let the rest of the world know that when men say they feel terrible at the first sign of fever — well, maybe they really do feel terrible.
Ellison states that men have more temperature receptors in the brain, which causes them to experience the symptoms more acutely than women. The differences lie in the area of the brain which balances a variety of bodily mechanisms, including temperature, called the hypothalamus.
While men and women start out as equals — because the hypothalamus in children’s brains are the same size, regardless of gender — puberty makes the male hypothalamus grow larger than the female. As testosterone hits that area of a male brain, it makes it grow larger.
Ellison, 38, notes, “When you have a cold one of the things that happens is you get an increase in temperature to fight off the bugs. The bugs can’t survive at higher temperatures. When your immune system is under attack the preoptic nucleus increases temperature to kill off the bugs.”
“But men have more temperature receptors because that area of the brain is bigger in men than women,” she adds. “So men run a higher temperature and feel rougher – and if they complain they feel rough then maybe they’re right.”
[Feature image from Shutterstock]