The Adam’s apple, also called a laryngeal prominence, refers to the bump of cartilage surrounding the thyroid and throat in the front of the neck. It is typically more prominent in males.
Although it is present at birth, it grows during male puberty or with testosterone hormone therapy.
Males typically have higher testosterone levels than females, so they also usually have larger Adam’s apples. However, biological females may develop an Adam’s apple if they use testosterone or transition genders.
A person can remove or change the size of their Adam’s apple with surgery.
Read more to learn about what an Adam’s apple is, how it develops, and options for removal or reduction.
Usually, a person’s Adam’s apple
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
The larynx, or voice box,
Along with other body parts, such as the mouth and nasal passages, the larynx produces a person’s voice. It also protects the airways during swallowing.
During puberty, testosterone makes males’ vocal cords grow thicker and longer. The cartilage surrounding the larynx also grows and then tilts slightly forward, forming the Adam’s apple.
While the Adam’s apple protects the voice box from injury, it does not serve any other purpose. A person can function normally without one.
Although both males and females develop Adam’s apples, they tend to be more prominent in males.
This is because the male larynx generally grows bigger and faster during puberty. A larger larynx explains why males tend to have deeper and louder voices than females.
Hormonal differences affect the way both the larynx and Adam’s apple develop. This means some males have larger larynxes and deeper voices than others.
For the same reason, a female may have a larger larynx, a more prominent Adam’s apple, and a lower-pitched voice.
Males, females, and nonbinary people may have Adam’s apples of various sizes. Apparent gender is not a good predictor of Adam’s apple size since hormone therapy and surgery can alter its appearance. Some people reshape their Adam’s apple as part of a gender transition.
The size of a person’s Adam’s apple does not impact physical health. However, the size can be problematic if a person feels that it does not match their body type or gender identity.
For example, someone with a prominent Adam’s apple may feel uncomfortable with what society considers a masculine feature. Others may wish to have a bigger Adam’s apple for the same reason.
If a person wants to increase the size of their Adam’s apple, a surgeon can transplant cartilage from elsewhere in the body. A 2017 case study reported on this relatively new technique, explaining that the surgeon used cartilage from the ribs to enhance the appearance of the Adam’s apple.
The Adam’s apple does not serve any medical purpose, and the size does not relate to any health condition.
However, some conditions can cause swelling in the larynx or growth in surrounding areas. This can cause the Adam’s apple to appear larger than usual.
Examples of these conditions include:
- laryngitis, inflammation of the larynx
- pharyngitis, inflammation of the back of the throat
- laryngeal cancer
- goiter, a growth on the thyroid
- thyroid cancer
The Adam’s apple is a cartilage growth that protrudes from the neck. The size depends on how large the larynx grows, and Adam’s apples are typically larger in males.
The Adam’s apple itself does not impact health, but some people choose to change the size through surgery.