Mesenteric Adenitis: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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Mesenteric Adenitis

Lymph nodes (which contain lymphocytes) are small, bean-shaped organs found inside the abdomen that are affected by mesenteric adenitis. Lymph nodes can become inflamed or swollen. Their function is to facilitate the removal of infectious agents from the body. Lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system of the body, which is responsible for filtering out bacteria and other harmful germs that may be present in the lymph fluid.

It affects lymph nodes that are found in the mesentery. Mesenteric adenitis is also called mesenteric lymphadenitis, and it occurs in the tissues that connect the intestines to the abdominal wall.

Symptoms of mesenteric adenitis

Symptoms of mesenteric adenitis can include:

After a cold or other respiratory infections, your child may experience these symptoms.

Mesenteric adenitis vs. appendicitis

Similar to appendicitis, mesenteric adenitis would have similar symptoms.

This is an inflammation of the appendix. The appendix is the small pouch in the lower part of the abdomen that separates the cecum from the colon. Sometimes the two conditions will appear similar.

Your child may experience pain in other parts of his/her belly when he/she has mesenteric adenitis. The symptoms may begin with a cold or other viral infection. However, appendicitis usually occurs suddenly and without any previous illness.

One of the main differences between mesenteric adenitis and appendicitis is that mesenteric adenitis typically improves on its own without the need for surgery. An appendectomy is typically performed to remove the appendix.

Causes of mesenteric adenitis

It can cause inflamed and swollen lymph nodes in your mesentery due to stomach flu or any other infection in your abdomen. Associated with the intestine, the mesentery connects the abdominal wall and the bowels.

Infections normally arise from the colonization of bacteria, viruses, or other germs by the lymph nodes, which then become inflamed and swell.

The lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune response. They produce antibodies to fight bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, and they clear them out of the body to keep you healthy and prevent you from getting sick.

This is why when you are sick, you might have enlarged, swollen lymph nodes in your neck or other places.

Some of the most common causes of this condition include viruses, bacteria, and parasites.

A child may also acquire mesenteric adenitis by becoming infected by a sinus infection or a cold. Some kids also acquire this condition by eating and ingesting uncooked pork contaminated with the bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica.

Risk factors of mesenteric adenitis

Despite being most common in children, it can occur at any age.

The following causes of mesenteric adenitis in children:

  • gastroenteritis
  • a respiratory infection, such as a cold virus
  • consumption of pork tainted with Y. enterocolitica

When to see a doctor

Stomachaches are common with kids. They’re usually not serious.

Adenitis mesenteric symptoms include:

  • stomach aches that come on suddenly and are severe
  • abdomen pain that can be associated with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or weight loss
  • an individual has symptoms that don’t improve or worsen

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask your child about his symptoms, including whether he had a cold or stomach bug recently. He’ll also examine his abdomen for tenderness and swelling, as well as lymph nodes that may be enlarged.

A blood sample may be taken to check for infection. A diagnostic imaging test may be required to determine whether the patient has enlarged lymph nodes in the abdomen. Your doctor can perform the following tests to determine if you have mesenteric adenitis or appendicitis:

With CT (computed tomography) scans, images are taken inside the abdomen by the X-ray using a powerful machine.

An ultrasound examines the inside of your abdomen using sound waves.


Patients who have a bacterial infection may require antibiotic therapy for mesenteric adenitis that gets better on its own.

You can give your child acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to keep them going until they are better.

Kids with flu-like symptoms should avoid taking aspirin. Aspirin has been linked with a serious, but uncommon, condition called Reye syndrome, which affects younger and healthier children and teens.


Although mesenteric adenitis usually does not cause complications, it may in some cases:

  • An abdominal abscess (pocket of pus)
  • Your child may experience severe dehydration if they have diarrhea or vomiting
  • A joint pain condition called arthralgia
  • a form of inflammation of the inside of the membranes that surround the organs in the abdomen.
  • Sepsis is a result of systemic inflammatory response syndrome in response to infection.

The Bottom Line

In most cases, this disease will resolve by itself within several days.

Irritable bowel disease which leads to ulcerative colitis sometimes occurs in people who have had mesenteric adenitis, a form of inflammatory bowel disease. Doctors believe that this reduced risk may be due to adenitis.

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