Miscellaneous 4 MIN READ 52 VIEWS May 24, 2022

The Adam’s Apple – Only for the Adams? Not for the Eves?

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Adam's Apple
The Larynx – Your Voice Box
Story Behind Adam’s Apple
What Determines the Size Of Adam’s Apple?
Could a Large Adam’s Apple Mean Trouble?
Conclusion

Have you ever wondered about the lump that protrudes from the throat of males? Is it just a random thing like your height or complexion? Is that lump  even a desirable feature to have? Or is there a deeper meaning, purpose, and scientific explanation for that lump or the Adam’s apple to occur in some and not in others? Let’s find out.

The Larynx – Your Voice Box

The natural anatomy of the human body is a miracle in itself. Starting from beyond our tongue, lies the food pipe leading to the stomach. But right at the beginning of this road, there’s an exit to a separate lane that goes down till our lungs. This is our ‘larynx’ that connects with the trachea to lead to the lungs. It lies right in front of our food pipe.

Larynx is a unique organ in our body which, with the help of specialized laryngeal cartilage folds, not only protects us from choking by acting as a guard and preventing entry of food particles into our air pipe while swallowing, but also lends us our beautiful voice, whether we’re talking, singing, whispering, or shouting. You can locate your larynx by placing your finger in front of your throat and humming. The point where you feel vibrations the most is your voice box!

Therefore, our larynx is also known as the ‘voice box’ and it’s protected externally by the thyroid cartilage that wraps around the front.

Story Behind Adam’s Apple

Now, the Adam’s apple is not simply a protruding prominent part of that thyroid cartilage and there is a special purpose for its existence and difference in size among various ages and genders. The name “Adam’s apple” was coined after the story of Adam and Eve from the Bible, where Adam eats the forbidden fruit – an apple and it gets lodged in his throat. 

What Determines the Size of Adam’s Apple?

The most important determinants of the size of your Adam’s apple is your age and gender. You may have noticed how most children have shrill, high-pitched voices. No wonder they can raise the entire house on their heads when they start crying! Similarly, you may have noticed how most men have gruff, deep, low-pitched voices compared to women who have high-pitched, sharper voices. Why else do you think it’s so difficult for men and women to find a common scale to sing on during a duet? The size of the Adam’s apple is determined during the development of our gender-specific secondary sexual characteristics; this means that it is mainly decided when kids undergo puberty. The individual differences are based on whether you are male or female. 

Our voice boxes have another set of specialized cartilage folds which act as our vocal cords and are the reason behind our unique voices. In order to produce a low-pitched, deeper voice, the vocal cords need to be longer and be set in a larger voice box and a sharper, high-pitched voice can only be produced when the vocal cords are shorter and set in a smaller voice box. Therefore, men typically develop a larger voice box compared to women during puberty. Naturally, a larger voice box means a larger Adam’s apple in men.

This change is mainly driven by the male sex hormone that is testosterone and as it is deficient in women, puberty hits girls and boys differently and men and women end up with different-sized Adam’s apples.

Could a Large Adam’s Apple Mean Trouble?

The size of your Adam’s apple has got nothing to do with your overall health and has no medical significance. It is simply an individual characteristic like your height, color of your eyes, your complexion, etc. However, there are some conditions where our Adam’s apple may appear larger than usual. It mainly occurs whenever there is any swelling in or around our larynx due to any reason like laryngitis, thyroid swellings, goiter, cancer, etc. But these conditions are usually accompanied by other obvious signs of an ailment of the body and therefore rarely go unnoticed by the patient or the doctor.

Therefore, the treatment of a large Adam’s apple is almost always decided by the underlying cause and may need medications or surgical correction, depending on the cause.

You may also opt to surgically enhance or flatten your Adam’s apple for personal cosmetic reasons. You can always talk with a cosmetic surgeon for the most safe, efficient, and economically feasible option.

Conclusion

Your Adam’s apple is simply your personal trait – an essential part of your growth and a part of your genetic individuality. Men and women have them in different sizes but that too is just mother nature’s way to set each of us apart from one another – by voice and by our Adam’s apple’s size. And while you may envy someone else’s Adam’s apple and go for cosmetic surgeries, it’s always better to own how you look and live up to it.

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