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Definition

What is mesenteric lymphadenitis?

Mesenteric adenitis is a condition that more often affects children and teenagers. It causes inflammation and swelling in the lymph nodes inside the abdomen. Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped organs that contain white blood cells called lymphocytes. They are part of your body’s lymphatic system. Lymph nodes play an important role in the immune system. They filter out bacteria and other germs from the lymph fluid so your body can remove these harmful substances.

Mesenteric adenitis affects lymph nodes in tissue called mesentery. This tissue connects the intestines to the abdominal wall. Another name for mesenteric adenitis is mesenteric lymphadenitis.

How common is mesenteric lymphadenitis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis?

The common symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis are:

  • Pain in the lower right part of the abdomen, or in other parts of the belly
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • General sick feeling, called malaise
  • Weight loss

These symptoms may appear after your child has a cold or other respiratory infection.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

Call your doctor if:

  • Belly pain that comes on suddenly and is severe
  • Belly pain that happens with fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or weight loss
  • Symptoms that don’t improve, or get worse

Causes

What causes mesenteric lymphadenitis?

About of the stomach flu or another infection in your abdomen can cause inflamed and swollen lymph nodes in and around the mesentery. Again, this is the tissue that attaches your intestines to the abdominal wall.

When you get an infection, bacteria, viruses, or other germs filter through your lymph nodes and cause them to become inflamed and swell up. Lymph nodes are part of the body’s immune response. They capture bacteria, viruses, and other germs, and they clear them out of your system to prevent you from getting sick. That’s why you’ll sometimes feel enlarged, swollen lymph nodes in your neck or other places when you’re sick.

Mesenteric adenitis is often seen after viral gastroenteritis, also called the stomach flu. Your child might also get this condition after a respiratory infection. Some kids get mesenteric adenitis from eating undercooked pork that’s been contaminated with the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for mesenteric lymphadenitis?

You can get mesenteric adenitis at any age, but it’s most common in children.

Children are more likely to get mesenteric adenitis after:

  • A stomach virus
  • A cold virus or other respiratory infection
  • Eating pork contaminated with Y. enterocolitica

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is mesenteric lymphadenitis diagnosed?

Your child’s doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms. They’ll also ask whether your child recently had a cold, stomach bug, or other infection. The doctor may feel your child’s belly to check for any tenderness or swelling, and to feel if any lymph nodes are enlarged.

The doctor may take a blood sample to check for infection. Your child might also need an imaging test to look for enlarged lymph nodes in the abdomen. Your doctor can use the following tests to tell the difference between mesenteric adenitis and appendicitis:

  • CT (computed tomography) scan is an imaging test that uses a powerful X-ray to take pictures inside the abdomen
  • Ultrasound in an imaging test that uses ultrasonic sound waves to show a picture of the inside of the abdomen

How is mesenteric lymphadenitis treated?

Mesenteric adenitis usually starts to get better in a few days without treatment. Children who have a bacterial infection may need to take antibiotic therapy.

To keep your child comfortable, you can give over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Don’t give aspirin to kids with flu-like symptoms. Aspirin has been linked to a rare, but serious condition called Reye syndrome in children and teens.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage mesenteric lymphadenitis?

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: October 27, 2017 | Last Modified: October 27, 2017

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