Pain in the Adam’s apple

Adam’s apple pain is pain that is felt in the larynx, around the Adam’s apple. This can occur in both men and women. Symptoms include pain when swallowing or a lump in the throat. The doctor will investigate where the complaints come from and what the cause is. Only then can treatment be started. This can vary greatly, but in most cases it is easy to treat. Sometimes the cause is serious, such as cancer.

What is the Adam’s apple?

The Adam’s apple is clearly visible in men: halfway down the throat we find a thickening that often moves up and down when talking or swallowing. Yet women also have an Adam’s apple. The reason that this is not so visible in women has to do with male hormones. Under the influence of these hormones, the Adam’s apple grows more outward in men. The Adam’s apple is the protruding thyroid cartilage. These are two cartilage plates that are attached to each other in the middle and form a V-shape at the top. It contains cells similar to those of the lungs (bottom cartilage plates) and those of the oral mucosa (top). The Adam’s apple is part of the larynx. The function of the larynx is to assist with swallowing and to prevent choking by closing the trachea during swallowing. In addition, the larynx plays an important role in voice formation.
The thyroid cartilage is the largest part of the larynx. It connects the larynx through the false vocal cords. In adolescent boys, the angle of the thyroid cartilage is reduced. This puts less tension on the vocal cords. The result is a lower voice. This does not happen in girls, so the voice remains higher.

Pain in the Adam’s apple: symptoms

There are often other symptoms in addition to pain in the Adam’s apple. First, the pain is most often felt when swallowing. There may also be a lump feeling in the throat. It then seems as if a grain or something larger is stuck in the throat. The result is frequent scraping, coughing, coughing and swallowing to get rid of this feeling. Frequent coughing or clearing of the throat often produces extra mucus, which can be difficult to swallow. The entire throat may feel sore or a burning sensation may be noticed. The feeling may be as if the throat is being squeezed or something is pushing against the throat.

Stress and tension

A common cause of a lump in the throat is stress or tension. Sometimes a painful feeling can also occur because the muscles cramp. In some cases even palpitations or the feeling that the heart is beating in the throat. When a doctor examines the throat, no abnormalities are found. Reassurance is often a first step in reducing tension. In addition, the cause of stress or tension must be carefully examined. The unpleasant feeling in the throat usually disappears after a few weeks, when the tension itself has resolved. If it persists, see your doctor.

Inflammation of the larynx

Inflammation of the larynx is also referred to as laryngitis. A commonly used name is a sore throat. A virus infection is the cause of this. This is often preceded by a cold, but this does not always have to be the case. There is noticeable pain when swallowing, especially around the Adam’s apple or larynx. In addition, the voice can sound raw and hoarse. Inflammation of the larynx may be accompanied by inflammation of other areas in the throat. A viral infection disappears on its own after a few days and cannot be treated with antibiotics. Drinking hot drinks often feels more pleasant than cold drinks. However, it is recommended to drink cold drinks sooner and, above all, to drink a lot. It helps to temporarily take paracetamol, which reduces the pain. If this does not help, an NSAID such as ibuprofen is a second choice.

Enlarged thyroid gland

When the thyroid gland is enlarged, it can press against the Adam’s apple and cause pain or a lumpy feeling. An enlarged thyroid gland is also called goiter and can be accompanied by an overactive or underactive thyroid gland. People usually complain of a lump in the throat, palpitations, feeling cold or hot, losing or gaining weight without a clear cause and a feeling of being rushed or tired. Thyroid function can be tested through a blood test. If there is a malfunctioning thyroid gland, this can be treated with medication. Sometimes the thyroid gland is swollen for other reasons.


With heartburn, stomach acid flows from the stomach back into the esophagus. This is caused by a malfunctioning valve that normally closes the esophagus from the stomach. This valve can no longer function properly due to various causes. Sometimes this is temporary, such as during pregnancy. Heartburn causes a burning, painful feeling in the esophagus, often near the Adam’s apple. Sometimes the acid even flows into the oral cavity. Avoiding spicy foods and soft drinks or acidic drinks such as orange juice can largely prevent the complaints. Cutting down on chocolate also helps. If the symptoms persist, medication can help.

Cancer of the larynx

Laryngeal cancer is uncommon. It is a form of throat cancer. Possible causes include smoking and alcohol consumption. Heartburn that lasts for a long time, certain nutrients or inhaling chemicals can also be a possible cause. Sometimes no clear cause is found. The first symptom is often a hoarse voice. Later, pain occurs in the larynx and the feeling that there is a lump in the throat. Even later, glands can swell in the neck as a result of metastases. Treatment consists of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery. The doctor will discuss which treatments are needed. This depends on the grade or stage of the cancer.

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