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The term “man apple” refers to the lump that appears in the front of the throat in some people. It is made of cartilage and protects your voice box. Growing up as a teenager, everyone had a smile on their face. It is usually larger in men and those assigned male at birth than in women and those assigned female at birth. But do women have Adam’s apple?
Men typically have higher levels of testosterone 1than women, so Adam’s apples tend to be larger. However, biological women can develop Adam’s apples if they use testosterone or cross-sex.
1. What is Adam’s Apple?
It is nothing but a bulge-out visible structure that can be seen mostly in men’s throats It feels like bony cartilage, specifically the male larynx.
In medical terminology, it is also termed laryngeal prominence2. So, the question arises, do women have Adam’s apple? Even in males, Adam’s apple is not always visible! Similarly, some women may have this protrusion and others don’t.
It all depends on heredity, genetics, body structure, etc.
2. Do You Know Where Adam’s Apple is Located?
Adam’s apple is formed with the thyroid cartilage, forming a covering or coating around the windpipe. Hence, it appears as a bulge on the front of the thyroid cartilage.
Adam’s apple is situated above the thyroid gland and thus it also helps in protecting the gland.
3. Why Do Men Have Adam’s Apples, But Women Don’t?
Puberty hits differently in both males and females during adolescence in which certain changes take place in the body. In males, one of the changes is the growth of the larynx i.e. the thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx extends outwards forming Adam’s apple.
This development starts only during the puberty stage whereas, before puberty, both genders have similar larynx sizes. As soon as puberty hits, the size of the larynx grows and for the protection of the vocal cords3, more cartilage layer is built up.
Because of the increasing size of the larynx, the voice becomes deeper over time as it goes through changes. That is why males have a deeper voice as compared to women.
3.1 But How Does Puberty Affect the Size of the Larynx?
During puberty, females also experience specific changes in the larynx and their voice tone. The extent of the growth of the larynx in women is not as considerable as in men. This is why most females do not possess Adam’s apple.
The Adam’s apple is slightly larger in males as compared to women. Still, in some cases due to a rise in the level of testosterone which is a sex hormone, the size of the larynx may increase which can also cause several other changes such as body hair growth, acne, etc.
3.2 What is the Function of the Larynx?
The larynx is part of the respiratory system of the human being. However, it does not play a significant role in the process of respiration.
The major role of the larynx is the vocal sound of men and women. It is also called the voice box which means it helps to produce sound.
It also plays a crucial role in avoiding the entry of food into the trachea or the lower respiratory system during respiration.
4. Adam’s Apple in Women
Do women have Adam’s apple is a concerning question? The short answer is simply that this protrusion is clearly visible in men but rarely in females.
Initially, after birth, both males and females have an equal amount of cartilage around the larynx. As the puberty stage occurs the males start getting prominent Adam’s apples.
Because of the laryngeal growth male voices become deeper. Every individual’s larynx grows during puberty. The only difference is that the growth in men is much bigger than in women. The growth could be significant in women too if their testosterone levels rise.
5. Why do Adam’s Apples Differ in Size?
Females have high-pitched voices and males have deeper voices. This is due to the different sizes of the larynx i.e. the voice box. Adam’s apple is the secondary sex characteristic in boys when puberty hits. It is a type of noticeable bump that appears in front of the throat which is easily visible.
Having a larger size or smaller size Adam’s apple is not at all a health condition. A person’s Adam’s apple can be of any size, usually smaller in females and larger in males. Certainly, some folks may have Adam’s apple and some may not, it is normal.
6. What is the Role of Adam’s Apple?
Its only role is to protect the larynx (voice box) and vocal cords.
It can also serve as a masculine identity in males. Though the masculine identity of a person is not completely dependent on Adam’s apple, it somehow displays male traits.
7. Can a Large Adam’s Apple Indicate Another Condition?
The increase in the size of Adam’s apple is not a concern or indication of any kind of health condition. Nevertheless, some people may have a problem with the size of their Adam’s apple as it may not fit with their body type.
But there are solutions for a large or small Adam’s apple. People can be treated with the removal of the cartilage if they want a smaller Adam’s apple. Also, transplanting the cartilage can increase the size of Adam’s apple.
If someone wants to make their Adam’s apple larger, testosterone hormone therapy elevates the testosterone levels in the body and the size of Adam’s apple increases. Similarly, surgery will help in the reduction of its size.
The larger Adam’s apple can indicate swelling in the larynx region or the area surrounding the thyroid gland and the vocal cords. The medical conditions in which Adam’s apple may appear bigger are as follows:
- Laryngeal cancer
- Goiter- caused by to increase in the iodine uptake
- Laryngitis- inflammation in the larynx
8. Is Adam’s Apple a Reliable Indicator of Gender?
No, gender cannot be predicted based on the size of Adam’s apple. It has already been seen that individuals, whether they are males, females or transgenders, have different sizes of Adam’s apple.
Hormonal therapy and different surgeries can alter the appearance and size of Adam’s apple. Nowadays some individuals also reshape their Adam’s apple during gender transition4.
9. So, Do Women Have Adam’s Apple?
The Adam’s apple is the cartilage growth around the larynx which is typically seen in males though it occurs in both males and females. Women do have Adam’s apple but it is usually smaller.
The size of Adam’s apple can be changed as per the person’s choice as there are various techniques and medical procedures available such as tracheal shaving, plastic surgery, etc. to change the size of Adam’s apple. However, these medical processes do not impact the voice naturally.
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10. Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Do Females Have Adams Apple?
Everyone’s larynx grows during puberty, but a girl’s larynx does not grow as much as a boy’s. That’s why boys have Adam’s apples. Most girls don’t have Adam’s apples, but some do. It’s no big deal either way.
Q2. Does Adam’s Apple Affect Voice?
Thyroid cartilage protects your voice box and interacts with other glands in the larynx that produce speech, but the Adam’s Apple itself does not affect speech and is not necessary for speech. In fact, some people undergo cosmetic surgery to change the appearance of Apple Adam
Q3. Is Adam’s Apple a Bone?
The Adam’s apple is the cartilage that covers and protects your voice box. It looks like a bump or protrusion in the front of your throat.
- Goldenberg, S. Larry, Anthony Koupparis, and Michael E. Robinson. “Differing levels of testosterone and the prostate: a physiological interplay.” Nature Reviews Urology 8.7 (2011): 365-377. ↩︎
- van Rossem, Anna P., Brigitte A. Meijer, and Rico NPM Rinkel. “Recommended maximum laryngeal prominence size in adult females: a cross-sectional study proposing a laryngeal prominence size standard for chondrolaryngoplasty in male-to-female transgender individuals.” Plastic and reconstructive surgery 147.4 (2021): 935-945. ↩︎
- Wilson, John J., Shannon M. Theis, and Erin M. Wilson. “Evaluation and management of vocal cord dysfunction in the athlete.” Current sports medicine reports 8.2 (2009): 65-70. ↩︎
- Steensma, Thomas D., and Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis. “Gender transitioning before puberty?.” Archives of sexual behavior 40 (2011): 649-650. ↩︎