Expert advice

Dr Caroline West: GP

Dr Caroline West combines her role in a busy inner-city general medical practice with presenting, producing and writing for a number of Australian television shows and magazines. ASK ME A QUESTION

Adam's apple

Sunday, April 6, 2008
The thyroid is butterfly shaped and sits below the Adam's apple.

I have noticed a small lump on the front of my 13-year-old son's neck. He complains that it is uncomfortable and says it feels like something is stuck in his throat. Is this his Adam's apple developing and should he feel discomfort? Should I see my GP?

When boys hit puberty there can be growth of the Adam's apple on the front of the neck, which is actually cartilage around the voice box (or thyroid cartilage of the larynx). It is hard to say without examining your son whether this is indeed what he is finding uncomfortable. Usually, however, the Adam's apple will not produce symptoms like a feeling of something stuck in the throat so it may be due to something else. Another organ in that region that may produce symptoms or occasionally lumps is the thyroid gland. The thyroid is butterfly shaped and sits below the Adam's apple. Larynx or respiratory conditions or infections can also produce throat discomfort. So to be on the safe side, it is best to see your GP who can diagnose the problem and offer reassurance.

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