Women with Adam's apples?

Originally Published: September 12, 2003 - Last Updated / Reviewed On: April 9, 2015
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Dear Alice,

It is a known fact by most when you mentioned about the fact of male and female adam's apple, but I am probably going to be the first to mention to you that I am female and I do have an obvious adam's apple.

I never had it protruding as a child, but it started appearing when I had turned 14 years of age. Some of my friends noticed my "manly" feature whenever I would raise my chin. I felt unfeminine, but don't think I was a tomboy. I just felt so embarrassed through the years. Until this day, I imagine ideas that will stop it from looking like I was born a male and had recently had a sex change.

Never had I encountered another women who has it like me. Can you tell me what might or might've been my cause? Please answer my question.

Dear Reader,

The Adam's apple is nothing more than cartilage and is a characteristic primarily associated with post-pubescent men. Some women do have larger Adam's apples than other women, similar to how some women have facial hair or large feet, also characteristics that are more often associated with men. The aspects of a person's body that are socially recognized markers of gender, such as the Adam's apple, facial or body hair, and breasts, are not determinants of one's sex or gender identity in any medical sense. That is, having some 'masculine' (or feminine) features does not determine whether a person identifies as a man or a woman.

As for the "cause" of your prominent Adam's apple, what's certain is that any "cause" would need to be determined by a health care provider you see in-person. A pronounced Adam's apple could be the normal result of the hormones your body produced during puberty; or perhaps what you think is an Adam's apple is actually a growth indicative of something else. It sounds as though you are distressed somewhat, and may find it helpful to discuss your concerns with a medical professional.

Even though your Adam's apple may be the harmless result of your hormones, social stereotypes can contribute to the feelings of embarrassment that you write about. Sometimes, when an individual looks different from those around her or him, her/his self-confidence can suffer because of embarrassment or social teasing. Talking with someone might help you to recognize and appreciate the emotions you've had while growing up and learn to restore some of your confidence. It is also possible that you're misperceiving or exaggerating to yourself the size of, and whether people truly notice, your larynx cartilage.

By talking with health care providers and thinking about your feelings you may be able to come to terms with your throat, apple and all. You may also try to think about your predicament by asking yourself some questions, like: What specifically bothers me about my Adam's apple? Have I noticed that it has an impact on social interactions? Do I want to appear more feminine than I feel I appear now? If so, what parts of my femininity can I accentuate? And most importantly, what parts of my body do I love and appreciate? Can I allow myself to love my whole body, "flaws" included?

As a very last resort, if you cannot learn to be happy with your throat, surgery can reduce the size of an Adam's apple. This procedure is most often used by male-to-female transgender individuals. While the operation is generally safe, it can result in scars and possible changes to the voice. You may also find that insurance companies may not pay for a surgery they label as "cosmetic." Bottom line: if you're distressed about your neck, there's no harm in speaking with health care provider about your concern.