Lymph nodes are a part of our lymphatic system. Our lymphatic system is the defense system of our body. It consists of lymph nodes or lymph glands, lymphatic vessels and certain lymphatic organs like spleen, the thymus gland and bone marrow. Lymphadenitis is a swelling or enlargement of these lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are present throughout our body, some are superficial while some are deep. There are lymph nodes present in the abdomen as well. Mesentery is a membrane that attaches our intestines to the back of the abdominal wall. It is because of this mesentery that our intestines do not move. Otherwise they might have ended up twisting upon themselves and causing obstruction. There are lymph nodes present in this mesentery too. When these lymph nodes get swollen up or enlarged, it is known as mesenteric lymphadenitis.
What Is The Recovery Period For Mesenteric Lymphadenitis?
The recovery period for mesenteric lymphadenitis is usually between two to three weeks. Most of the times it is seen that the abdominal pain caused by mesenteric lymphadenitis will disappear in two to three weeks of time however; it is still an assumption and not an established fact. Also, the causative factor plays an important role in deciding the recovery period of mesenteric lymphadenitis. It usually depends on the time taken for the causative ailment to subside. Once the causative ailment subsides, the mesenteric lymphadenitis usually starts receding. On rare occasions that the cause is not known, anti-inflammatory medications are given along with the supportive care to reduce the symptoms. Hence, the recovery period may vary from person to person and according to the causative factor.
Mesenteric lymphadenitis is not a very serious illness. It usually does not require any treatment as such and goes away on its own. However, any of the above symptoms should be brought to the physician’s notice promptly.
Causes of Mesenteric Lymphadenitis
Sometimes, physicians are not able to tell about the exact cause of the mesenteric lymphadenitis. But, it is seen to be most commonly occurring due to a viral infection, such as gastroenteritis or stomach flu. Some inflammatory diseases may also be a causative factor for mesenteric lymphadenitis. Sometimes, small children tend to develop an upper respiratory tract infection just before or during the episode of mesenteric lymphadenitis. There is a speculation that these two conditions might be linked together. However, the fact has not been established yet. Very rarely, mesenteric lymphadenitis may happen due to cancer-like cancer of breasts, lymphoma, cancer of lungs or pancreatic cancer.
The infections responsible for causing mesenteric lymphadenitis may be located throughout the body (called as systemic infection), or the infection may be at one place (called as local infection). These infections may be due to any of the three- the bacteria, viruses or parasites. However, some of the commonest infections that cause mesenteric lymphadenitis are gastroenteritis caused by viruses like rotavirus, or caused by bacteria like staphylococci, streptococci or salmonella. Another common infection is caused by Yersinia enterocolitica. This happens commonly in children and this bacterium can also cause gastroenteritis. The symptoms may feel like those similar to appendicitis or even Crohn’s disease.
Many other infections may be responsible for mesenteric lymphadenitis, like TB, ileitis (acute terminal ileitis), also infections related to HIV in some cases.
As mentioned, some of the inflammatory conditions 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).
Signs And Symptoms of Mesenteric Lymphadenitis
The most common symptom of mesenteric lymphadenitis is abdominal pain. There might be tenderness as well. Some other symptoms may be present along with pain, corresponding to the cause of mesenteric lymphadenitis. Occasionally, there may not be any symptoms and mesenteric lymphadenitis is diagnosed accidentally during some other investigations.
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