Is The 'Man Flu' A Real Thing?

Poor men. Feeling under the weather is rough, and these days you can't seem to utter a single complaint without someone retaliating by uttering an annoyed "ugh, stop with the man flu" grunt your way. The phrase is most commonly used to describe men who whine and moan about their symptoms while sick. While it may be fun to throw a "man flu" jab to the men you're closest to in your life, we've started to wonder — is the "man flu" a real thing?

The idea of the "man flu" may seem humorous, but the phrase has been taken seriously enough to become an official noun. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the "man flu" as: "A cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms." 

Now that we know we're not just slinging slang, let us try and understand if the extra complaining that men do while sick is justified.

The evidence is suggestive but not concrete

The results have taken shape as inconclusive. Kyle Sue, M.D., clinical assistant professor in family medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland, tells The Healthy about what he concluded when researching if the "man flu" is real. "The studies are not definitive, but they are suggestive," he says. Sarah Klein, Ph.D., and associate professor at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health appears to agree, saying in Healthline, "In my opinion, we do not yet have enough science to conclude that 'man flu' is real."

Before everyone else can celebrate, there are a few clues that men may, in fact, have worse symptoms than women while sick. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a popular magazine conducted a survey and reported men to take twice as long to recover from a flu-like illness. Men reported an average of three days while women claimed an average of one and a half days. In addition, there was also a study that reviewed six years of data, and found that more men were hospitalized with the flu than women. So if you are currently dealing with a case of the "man flu" in your home or have endured it yourself, just remember being sick is zero fun, so let's all do our best to keep each other healthy.