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What Are The Complications Of Mesenteric Lymphadenitis?

Lymph nodes are present all over the body to protect the body from infection. The cells of the lymph nodes fights with the causative agents and in the process get swollen. The intestine is connected to the abdominal wall through a membrane. The lymph nodes are present in this area are known as mesenteric lymph nodes. When there is an infection in the area, the lymph nodes get swollen. This condition is known as mesenteric lymphadenitis. The symptoms of the disease may include fever, pain in abdomen, weight loss, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. If left untreated, the disease may cause severe complications that may prove to be fatal.

What Are The Complications Of Mesenteric Lymphadenitis?

The pathogens enter the mesenteric lymph nodes through the intestinal lymphatic system. The severity of the disease depends upon the number of bacteria and rate of their multiplication. The severity also depends upon the virulence factor. The usual symptoms include pain and inflammation. If the disease is not controlled with the effective treatment strategy, the disease results in to various complications. Following are the complications of mesenteric lymphadenitis:

  1. Hypovolemic Shock: In its chronic, untreated form, the mesenteric lymphadenitis disease has serious complications related to gastrointestinal system which leads to hypovolemic shock. These include severe diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and electrolytic imbalance.
  2. Abscess Formation: With severe infection, there is an abscess formation in the mesenteric area. This results in the pus formation. The pus may contain dead tissues, bacteria or virus, white blood cells and fluid.
  3. Peritonitis: The infection in the mesenteric lymph nodes may also cause the inflammation of the peritoneum wall. Peritoneum is the inner wall of the abdomen and covers all the organs present in the abdominal region. The peritonitis, although rare, has symptoms such as fever, severe abdominal pain and weight loss. Without the proper treatment, death may occur.
  4. Sepsis: Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that occurs due to the severe immune response from the body against any pathogen. The patient without treatment may experience a septic shock that cannot be managed through fluid replacement. Abdominal organs are at risk in developing sepsis in case there is any infection in the abdominal area.
  5. Arthralgia: One of the causative factors for mesenteric lymphadenitis is Y. enterocolitica. The enteritis is caused by this bacterium. When untreated, this leads to the complication of reactive arthritis. It also sometimes causes pseudo-appendicitis. It produces arthritis, tenosynovitis or sarcoilitis during the initial infection.
  6. Whipples’ Disease: This disease should also be considered in case of mesenteric lymphadenitis. This disease can be fatal in the absence of proper treatment and should be considered when the patient experiences the abdominal symptoms such as abdominal pain, weight loss along with arthralgia.

Symptoms Of Mesenteric Lymphadenitis

Mesenteric lymphadenitis is the inflammation of the lymph nodes present in the mesenteric area. This area lies in the abdomen. Thus, the symptoms related to this disease are largely abdominal. Following are the symptoms related to mesenteric lymphadenitis:

  • Pain in the abdomen: The pain experienced by the patient at the lower right quadrant is often misdiagnosed as appendicitis.
  • Weight loss: As with other infections, the weight loss also occurs in the patient.
  • High fever
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
  • The infection may also cause the increased number of leucocytes.
  • In few cases, patient may also experience non-specific arthralgia.


There are certain sites inside the body, the infection of which leads to disastrous consequences. One of those sites is abdominal area. The infection of the abdominal area activates the lymph node for fighting against bacteria or virus and the lymph nodes get swollen, resulting in the condition known as mesenteric lymphadenitis. The symptoms of this infection are abdominal pain, fever, fatigue, weight loss and diarrhea. If left untreated, the infection becomes severe and can have fatal consequences. The complications due to infection are peritonitis, hypovolemic shock, sepsis and non-specific arthralgia. In some cases, presence of Whipple’s disease should also be considered along with mesenteric lymphadenitis.


  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – Mesenteric Lymphadenitis: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4272366/

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 24, 2023

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