I”m a woman over 40 and was diagnosed with androgenetic alopecia ten years ago. My 16 year old is losing her hair. I took her to the derm and was told that it is stress related. The doctor said that she did not see the genetic pattern. My daughter is losing her hair on the sides above the temple and also in her part. Isn”t this genetic pattern? I don”t know if I buy the whole stress theory. The doctor spent 5 minutes with us and ran her fingers through my daughters hair. Can stress hair loss mimic androgenetic?
There might be a stress component, but it is not a common cause of hair loss except with alopecia areata, which tends to be well circumscribed and circular in shape. There are different kinds of stress. There is mental stress and there is physical stress such as a severe illness or significant trauma. Physical stress can produce a global form of hair loss.
The fact that mom has the diagnosis of AA increases the chance of the daughter having a similar problem, however at 16, she is a bit young for that. Other possibilities are polycystic ovary syndrome; one would expect other signs of androgen excess with this (facial hair, acne, increased body hair, etc). The sides of the scalp are not a common area for androgen excess to present itself. Female pattern loss can involve the sides of the scalp however.
I am unsure what is meant by “above the ear”. If the loss is in the fronto-temporal recess, it could be androgenetic alopecia; if it is on the sides (parietal), that is unlikely and it may be a diffuse patterned or unpatterned alopecia.
The loss through the area of the “part” may indicate a Ludwig pattern of AA, which is a more typical “female” pattern, as opposed to the “male” pattern of temporal recession and loss of the hairline.
A thorough workup with a physician specializing in hair loss would be your best option at this point. You should look for any changes in density or hair diameter. You could follow this up with a biopsy properly performed. Make certain to perform some lab tests to look for anemia, androgen excess, iron deficiency, or a thyroid dysfunction.