Why do women suffer heavier flu?

29.07.2013

Women suffer acute infectious diseases because of their sex hormones cause overdriving immunity, causing the immune system to respond adequately powerful infection.

The fact that women are harder to tolerate the flu, can be associated with increased levels of female sex hormones. (Photo db2stock.)

It has long been known that the weaker sex is increasingly suffering from all sorts of infections, but why this is so, it becomes more or less clear just now. It turns out that the female body against diseases of this kind play by his own sex hormones.

For the first time scientists have pondered the relationship between one and the other two years ago, when Sabra Klein and her colleagues at Johns Hopkins University (USA) experimented with mice, trying to figure out how males and females respond to the influenza virus. Then it turned out that the females have flu heavier, but the difference disappeared if spayed females, and males — testes.

One could conclude that the testes to protect the body from infection, but it was not in them. If the female sex glands with remote given the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, resistance to the virus they have increased. The problem is that the immune cells have receptors for the female sex hormones. Of these receptors, again has long been known, and because they are believed to be women are more prone to autoimmune diseases — as the female immune system all the time feel the ire of the sex hormones.

The same immune sverhgotovnost may complicate the course of infectious diseases. For example, the flu virus particles in the female body is less than that of men, but the symptoms are worse. This paradox, according to Ms. Klein and her colleagues, can be explained by excessive immune response to infection.

The immune system of overexcited female hormones, starts excessive inflammatory response: the infection is, of course, destroys, but also harms the body itself. We can say that the female immune system, not calculating power of the guns begin to shoot sparrows with. Their new results on this topic, researchers reported at the annual conference of the Society for Reproductive Research, recently held in Montreal (Canada).

One way to prevent such a violent immune reaction — regularly vaccinated, immunity to the pathogen used to be and did not panic when a real infection. In addition, the authors believe that a certain positive role for hormonal contraceptives, which help to maintain the level of sex hormones in health and prevent abnormalities of the menstrual cycle (which is known to be associated with regular ups and downs in hormone levels). During seasonal epidemics women, I suppose, would not hurt along with the anti-infective drugs to take drugs that would reduce the level of sex hormones.

But before moving on to specific clinical guidelines, gather more data on the relationship of female sex hormones, the menstrual cycle and response to infections of the female body — as acknowledged by the researchers, studies of this kind are very small.

Prepared according to Nature News. Photos on the screen saver belongs Shutterstock.

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