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What Is Mesenteric Adenitis In Children?

Mesenteric adenitis is an inflammatory disease of lymph nodes present in the mesentery. This condition is also known as lymphadenitis. The mesentery is a membrane that connects the small intestine with the abdominal wall. It affects three or more lymph nodes at a time. Lymph nodes are small organs that are bean-shaped and comprises of white blood cells. Lymph nodes play an important role to maintain the immune system. Any bacteria or virus that enters the body is filtered by lymph nodes.

What Is Mesenteric Adenitis In Children?

Mesenteric adenitis is a condition characterized by the inflammation of three or more lymph nodes of the abdomen. These lymph nodes are located in the membrane that connects the small intestine to the abdominal wall. This condition is more common in children and adolescents. This condition is also known as mesenteric lymphadenitis. The symptoms of this condition also resemble as that of appendicitis. Its common symptoms are fever, nausea, vomiting and pain in the lower right side of the abdomen. It is usually caused after stomach flu, respiratory infection or eating pork infected with Y. enterocolitica.

Mesenteric adenitis commonly affects children or young adults.

Causes of Mesenteric Adenitis In Children

The infection from respiratory tract or other areas may travel to the stomach. This infection leads to the swelling or inflammation of lymph nodes in the region around the mesentery.

The infection is restricted to lymph nodes as they fight with causative bacteria, virus and other germs. The lymph nodes filter them to swell up and inflamed causing abdominal discomfort. They play an important role in the immune system. They pick the causative organism of the infection and clear them from the rest of the body. This can happen after:

  • Respiratory infection from viruses, bacteria or parasite
  • Gastroenteritis from virus-like rotavirus or norovirus, from bacteria like salmonella, staphylococcus or streptococcus.
  • An infection by bacteria named Yersinia enterocolitica which is caused by eating infected pork.
  • An HIV infection that can spread to abdomen directly or indirectly
  • Tuberculosis that can infect abdomen too

Symptoms of Mesenteric Adenitis In Children

The symptoms of Mesenteric adenitis may develop in children after a cold or respiratory infection. They are-

These mesenteric adenitis symptoms are mild in the beginning, it resolves by itself in a few days without treatment. It may get worse in a few days. It may cause intense and severe pain in the stomach with fever and diarrhea or vomiting. The disease may get complicated with time in some cases, when the infection enters the blood, resulting in sepsis in severe cases.

Mesenteric adenitis resembles the symptoms of appendicitis. It is the inflammatory disease of appendix whose pain is located at the lower right side of the abdomen similar to mesenteric adenitis. It has a sudden onset without any other illness before. It is a serious ailment which needs to be removed by surgery.

Mesenteric adenitis also confused with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, connective tissue disease like lupus, sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation of membrane of large intestine i.e. diverticulitis and inflammatory disease of pancreas i.e. pancreatitis.

Diagnosis of Mesenteric Adenitis In Children

Mesenteric adenitis is diagnosed on the basis of your symptoms, physical examination by your physician and tests like blood tests, CT scan, and ultrasound. Blood tests reveal the infection. MRI and CT scan are done to find out the exact cause of the symptoms and rule out other diseases.


Mesenteric adenitis also is known as mesenteric lymphadenitis, is the inflammatory condition of the lymph nodes of the abdomen. It can happen at any age, but it is mostly seen in children. It causes pain in the abdomen in the lower right side, fever, diarrhea and other symptoms discussed above.


Also Read:

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:August 2, 2023

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