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Mesenteric Adenitis—Child

(Mesenteric Lymphadenitis)

Mez-un-ter-ik Lim-fad-un-ni-tis

Definition

Mesentery is tissue that connects the intestines to the wall of the abdomen. This tissue also has lymph nodes. Mesenteric adenitis is swelling in these lymph nodes. The condition is also known as mesenteric lymphadenitis.

Normal Anatomy of the Intestines

Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes    TOP

The lymph nodes are part of the immune system. They help clear infectious and damaged tissue out of an infected area. Lymph nodes swell when an infection is near and the nodes are active.

Mesenteric adenitis is most often caused by an infection in the stomach or intestines. Viruses are the most common cause of these infections, but some may be due to bacteria.

Risk Factors    TOP

Children are at increased risk of developing mesenteric adenitis.

Symptoms    TOP

Symptoms often follow a cold and may include:

  • Pain in the abdomen, often the lower, right side
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

Diagnosis    TOP

You will be asked about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Your child’s bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.

Images may be taken of your child’s bodily structures. This can be done with:

Treatment    TOP

Mesenteric adenitis is usually not serious. Symptoms will go away after a few days to weeks.

Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used to help reduce discomfort.

If a bacterial infection is present and persistent, antibiotics may be recommended.

Prevention    TOP

Avoiding viral or bacterial infections can help reduce your chance of getting mesenteric adenitis. Steps that may decrease your risk of infection include:

  • Wash your hands often, especially when you come in contact with someone who is sick. Wash your hands for 15-20 seconds with soap and water. Rubbing alcohol-based cleaners on your hands is also helpful.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

RESOURCES:

Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
https://www.familydoctor.org
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
https://www.healthychildren.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca

References:

Mesenteric adenitis. Patient UK website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/mesenteric-adenitis. Updated July 23, 2017. Accessed December 8, 2017.
Mesenteric adenitis. Radiopaediag website. Available at: https://radiopaedia.org/articles/mesenteric-adenitis. Accessed December 8, 2017.
Last reviewed December 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 10/3/2016

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