Who is Adam? And what is the deal with his apple? And perhaps most importantly, how do they relate with the lump we often see in a human's throat, that protruding chunk of bony cartilage in our necks? This article will give you the answers to these questions and more. We will discover the origins of the term, thoroughly explain what exactly it is, and explain why men seem to have their Adam's Apple stick out more than women.
Myth - Terminology Origins
If we trace back the origins of the term "Adam's Apple" we will come up with a centuries old event chronicled in the Bible. Supposedly, the legendary first humans, Adam and Eve were blissfully living in the Garden of Eden. They were allowed to eat whichever fruit they fancied, except the apples from the Tree of Good and Evil. One day, Lucifer, disguised as a Serpent approached Eve and convinced her to the eat the fruit from the forbidden tree.
After she did, she gave the fruit to Adam. Apparently, the apple got stuck in their throats – effectively making them unworthy of staying in the Garden of Eden. God banished them, and cursed them to have to work the ground of the area they lived in, in order to survive. All men, following that event, were forced to bear evidence of that unfortunate mistake. The evidence and proof is our Adam's Apple.
What Science Has to Say
As impressive as the aforementioned story sounds, science begs to differ. According to research, an Adam's Apple has nothing to do with a Biblical, Godly punishment – and everything to do with the angle of the thyroid cartilage in relation to the growing larynx of people. At birth, both sexes start with no noticeable protrusion in their neck. As children reach puberty, however, males tend to have a significantly increased lump in their necks – this is a direct result of the hormonal differences between the sexes, and particularly, the higher testosterone of men.
Moreover, another reason men have a more noticeable Adam's Apple is due to how their larynx, or "voice box" as it is often called, is generally bigger than a female's. The level of development of the Adam's Apple varies among different people, and the widening of that area in the larynx usually occurs suddenly and quickly when a people experience their first large growth spurts.
Purpose of Adam's Apple
The Adam's Apple, along with the thyroid cartilage that forms it, work to protect the walls and the frontal part of the larynx – as well as the vocal cords which are right behind it. It is also largely related to the deepening of the voice – generally, people with more pronounced Adam's apples have a deeper voice note.
Most importantly, however, it allows air to get through to the lungs and empowers us to talk. As this crucial function happens no matter how pronounced the Adam's Apple is, and is universal to both genders, we can conclude that whether the lump is really prominent or not, has no real health implications. As many men with really pronounced lumps get them surgical removed, without suffering from any adverse effects, perhaps the most important side effect of a large Adam's Apple is the funny looking bobbing around it does when you gulp or swallow.
Adam's Apple and Women
Like we mentioned, both sexes do have an Adam's Apple, even though it is usually much less noticeable in women due to hormonal differences, and a difference in larynx size. A third reason that the the lump is less pronounced in women, is how they usually have a higher body fat percentage than men, which results in a more streamlined neck look.
A woman's Adam's Apple pretty much performs the same function as it does to a man – toned down in accordance with it's prominence or lack thereof. Thus, women with no noticeable Adam's Apple have generally higher pitched voices than those who do have visible ones.
As for the women who do have pronounced Adam's Apples, they unfortunately have to deal with all kinds of self confidence issues, as a prominent neck lump is highly associated with masculinity and male features. Generally, this is an unfounded insecurity, as in the vast majority of cases, whether a woman has a prominent Adam's Apple or not, her voice is not going to sound like masculine like. It is more of a visual issue, which can be easily dismissed and dealt with if the woman in question works on cultivating a positive self image. In severe cases, counseling might be in order.
What to Do If You Have Large Adam's Apple
We have established that a more – or less – pronounced Adam's Apple has no health implications. If for any reason however, you would want to change it, you can always undergo a cosmetic surgery to lessen and reduce it. This type of surgery is called chondrolaryngoplasty and is highly effective, with few complications, if any, that are mostly transient. Like all cosmetic surgeries, however, an Adam's Apple surgery is very unlikely to be covered by insurance.
Generally, unless you really want to reduce your Adam's Apple protrusion for any reason – you want to undergo a sex reassignment surgery, for example – it is recommended that you first consult a therapist to help you deal with your condition. Likewise, before consulting a therapist, you might want to spend some time putting things in perspective, and decide whether a prominent Adam's Apple is really something you should worry or fuss about.
By now you should have a clear understanding of what an Adam's Apple is, what is the origin of the term, what function does it serve, and why it is more prominent in men than in women. Barring surgery, there is no way to lessen the severity by which your Apple protrudes from your neck. Whether you like your lump or not, its appearance has no health implications whatsoever. Thus, if you are not interested in surgery, you should learn to live with it, if not love it.