The term “Adam’s apple” refers to the bump that’s visible on the front of some people’s throats. It’s made of cartilage and it protects your voice box. Everyone has cartilage in this area that grows larger during puberty. But it’s typically larger in people assigned male at birth than women people assigned female at birth.
An Adam’s apple is the bump or protrusion on the front of many people’s throats. It’s the cartilage that covers the front of your larynx (voice box). Everyone has this cartilage, but it’s not always visible.
The medical term for Adam’s apple is “laryngeal prominence.”
The term “Adam’s apple” likely comes from the Judeo-Christian folktale about Adam and Eve. According to ancient legend, God caused an apple to become stuck in Adam’s throat after he ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.
People assigned female at birth (AFAB) have cartilage that covers their voice box, just as people assigned male at birth (AMAB) do. But during puberty, people AMAB usually have more growth in this area compared to people AFAB.
In short, some people have an Adam’s apple and some don’t. Having or not having an Adam’s apple has no bearing on your health. But some people may choose to pursue cosmetic surgery to make their Adam’s apple smaller or larger, depending on their personal preferences (for example, gender-affirming surgeries).
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
The purpose of the Adam’s apple is to protect your voice box from injury. Apart from that, an Adam’s apple has no known function.
Many researchers believe that a larger Adam’s apple plays a role in voice deepening and maturation. But no concrete evidence yet exists.
Even if you can’t see a bump over your larynx, sometimes you can feel it. Try touching the front of your throat while you hum. When you find the area where the vibrations are the strongest, you’ve found your larynx.
Your Adam’s apple consists of thyroid cartilage — the largest of nine cartilages in your larynx. Other parts of your voice box and trachea (windpipe) consist of other types of cartilage, including cricoid cartilage, epiglottic cartilage and arytenoid cartilage.
From the outside, your Adam’s apple looks like a small, round bump on the front of your throat. Inside your body, the thyroid cartilage that surrounds your Adam’s apple contains two cartilage plates. These two plates join at the front of your throat, forming a V-shaped notch.
The size of an Adam’s apple varies from person to person. Often, people AMAB have larger Adam’s apples than people AFAB. But this isn’t always the case.
It’s possible to develop pain in your Adam’s apple. This can result from:
There are also conditions that may cause swelling in your larynx. This can result in an Adam’s apple that’s bigger than usual. Conditions that can affect your larynx in this way include:
A large Adam’s apple doesn’t mean you have a medical condition. But if you notice that your Adam’s apple is sore or swollen, it could indicate an underlying issue. Signs to watch for may include:
If you develop symptoms — especially ones that don’t go away — schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. They can find out what’s causing your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment.
Some people choose surgery because they want to change the size or shape of their Adam’s apple. Surgeons perform these procedures by adding or removing cartilage in the area. Many people undergo this Adam’s apple surgery as part of their gender-affirming treatment. (For example, someone may choose this procedure if they feel that their Adam’s apple — or lack of one — doesn’t match their gender identity or body type.)
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Everyone has cartilage that protects their larynx. When this lump of cartilage is visible on the outside of the throat, it’s an Adam’s apple. An Adam’s apple has no impact on your health. It’s simply a cosmetic feature that some people may choose to change through surgery.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/29/2023.
Learn more about our editorial process.