There are many biological differences between men and women, and the handling of infections and flu-like symptoms seems to be one of them. In fact, the term “man flu” – a minor ailment whose symptoms men often exaggerate – has even made it into the Oxford Dictionary. However, recent studies show that this might not be a fruit of imagination – men may be more susceptible to these kinds of illnesses.
So, why do men get sick more often than women?
Testosterone and the Immune System
The answer to this question seems to lie in male testosterone levels. This hormone is famous for its role in muscle growth and fertility, but some of its other effects on the male body are still being discovered. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found a strong connection between higher testosterone levels and lower immune response to influenza vaccination.
On the other hand, women and men with lower testosterone levels reacted much better to the same vaccine.
What Can You Do?
The fact that flu vaccine might not be as effective for men with high testosterone levels doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get vaccinated. It does, however, raise a question about testosterone supplements and their implications for male health.
Since low testosterone has been linked to cardiovascular and bone health, many men need to take these supplements to avoid more serious medical problems. If you’re concerned about high testosterone levels affecting your immune response to flu vaccination, contact your doctor and share your concerns.
If you were asking yourself why do men get sick more often than women, we hope this article answers your question. Although more research is needed to confirm the hypothesis, early results suggest that our testosterone levels leave us more susceptible to some infections.