Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Lymph nodes are present throughout our body some of them are located deep inside, while some others are superficially located. These lymph nodes cannot be seen or felt normally. But, they can be seen or felt when they get enlarged or swollen (called lymphadenitis). They are an important part of our body’s immune system. They protect our body from various viral, bacterial and parasitic infections.

Mesentery is a membrane which attaches our intestines to the back abdominal wall. Because of this mesentery, the intestines stay stationary; else they might have twisted upon themselves which might have resulted in severe obstruction. There are lymph nodes present here too. When these lymph nodes get enlarged, it causes mesenteric lymphadenitis.

What Is The Prognosis For Mesenteric Lymphadenitis?

The prognosis is good for mesenteric lymphadenitis. It is usually not a serious condition and it often gets better on its own without any specific treatment. However, in very rare conditions, it can cause certain complications. These complications include abscess in the abdomen, dehydration in case of severe vomiting and diarrhea, peritonitis (a condition where there is an inflammation of the peritoneum, which is the membrane that surrounds the abdominal organs) and sepsis (which may happen due to an untreated or serious infection). Mesenteric lymphadenitis may recur in kids and teens, if they are exposed to the causative factors again.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis does not require any treatment and usually subsides on its own. Once the treatment for causative factor is carried out, it itself will result in the receding of the mesenteric lymphadenitis. For relief from symptoms like, pain, fever etc., one can take anti-inflammatory and anti-pyretic medicines. Warm compress can be used on the abdomen, to provide ease from the discomfort.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis is not a serious illness and it will heal on its own. Any symptoms like pain in abdomen with vomiting etc. are however to be reported to the physician promptly.

Causative Factors of Mesenteric Lymphadenitis

Usually, the lymph nodes get swollen as a response to some infection in that particular area. Hence, lymphadenitis in the mesentery, many times, is an indication of some infection in the nearby areas or organs. The most common infection is the gastroenteritis, which can be viral or bacterial. Sometimes, the cause of the mesenteric lymphadenitis is not known.

Sometimes inflammatory diseases may be responsible for causing mesenteric lymphadenitis. There might be an occurrence of upper respiratory tract infection, just before a child gets infected by mesenteric lymphadenitis. Though the exact reason for this occurrence is not known, there is a speculation that these two might be linked together. However, there is not enough proof to support this theory yet. Very rarely, cancers - like cancer of breasts, lymphoma, cancer of lungs or pancreatic cancer may be responsible for causing mesenteric lymphadenitis.

The infections that cause m l may be present throughout the body (called as systemic infection), or the infection may just be at one place (called as local infection). These infections may be due to any of these-the bacteria, viruses or parasites. The most common infection that causes mesenteric lymphadenitis is gastroenteritis caused by viruses like rotavirus, or caused by bacteria like staphylococci, streptococci or salmonella. Another common infection source is by Yersinia enterocolitica. Commonly, this is seen in children and this bacterium can also cause gastroenteritis. The symptoms may feel similar to appendicitis or even Crohn’s disease.

Many other infections like TB, ileitis (acute terminal ileitis), also infections related to HIV in some cases, may be responsible for causing mesenteric lymphadenitis.

Some of the inflammatory conditions, as stated above, may also be responsible for mesenteric lymphadenitis. These may include appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (inflammatory diseases of the bowels), rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or sclerosis (which are the connective tissue diseases), diverticulitis (which is an inflammation of large intestinal lining), and pancreatitis( which is the inflammation of the pancreas).

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 30, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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