Mesenteric adenitis – Symptoms, causes. risk factors & Complications


The mesenteric adenitis is a condition which most often affects children and teenagers. This condition causes swelling and inflammation in the lymph nodes inside the abdomen. We know that lymph nodes are small and bean – shaped organs which have white blood cells called lymphocytes. The lymph nodes are part of the lymphatic system of our bodies.

They are playing an important role in the immune system. Lymph nodes filter out bacteria and other germs from the lymph fluid so your body can remove these harmful substances. The mesenteric adenitis affects the lymph nodes in tissue called mesentery. This tissue is connecting the intestines to the abdominal wall. The mesenteric lymphadenitis is another term for mesenteric adenitis.

Symptoms of mesenteric adenitis

Mesenteric adenitis

Here are some symptoms of mesenteric adenitis

  • Weight loss
  • General sick feeling, called malaise
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • You can have a pain in the lower right part of the abdomen or in other parts of the belly

The mentioned symptoms can appear after your child has a cold or other respiratory infection. We know that children often get stomachache and in many cases they are not serious. If your child has some of the below mentioned symptoms of mesenteric adenitis, then you should talk with his or her doctor

  • Symptoms that do not improve or get worse
  • Belly pain that happens with weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea or fever
  • You can have a belly pain that comes on suddenly and is severe

Your doctor will ask about the symptoms of your child. Also, your doctor should know if your child had recently stomach bug, cold or other infection. Also, the doctor can feel your child’s belly to check if there is swelling or tenderness and to feel if his or her lymph nodes are enlarged.


The swollen and inflamed lymph nodes in and around the mesentery are caused by a bout of the stomach flu or another infection in your abdomen. This is the tissue which attaches your intestines to your abdominal wall. When you get viruses, bacteria, infection or other germs, then they filter through your lymph nodes and they cause them to become inflamed and to swell up. We know that lymph nodes are part of the immune response of our bodies. They can capture viruses, bacteria and other germs and also they can clear them out of your system to prevent you from getting sick.

This is a reason why you will have enlarged and swollen lymph nodes in your neck or other places when you are sick. It is known that mesenteric adenitis can be caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites. Some of the most common bacteria that can lead to mesenteric adenitis include Yersinia enterocolitica; Streptococcus viridians; Staphylococcus species; Mycobacterium tuberculosis; E. coli; Beta – hemolytic streptococci and Bartonella henselae (known as cat scratch disease).

Giardia lamblia is a parasite which can cause mesenteric adenitis. Some of the viruses which can lead to mesenteric adenitis include rubeola virus (measles); Epstein – Barr virus; co sackle viruses; adenoviruses and acute HIV infection. The mesenteric adenitis is often seen after viral gastroenteritis which is a reason why it is called stomach flu. Also, your child can get this condition after he or she had a respiratory infection. There are some children who get mesenteric adenitis after eating undercooked pork which has been contaminated with the bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica.

Risk factors

It is known that you can get the mesenteric adenitis at any age, but it is most common in children. Children are having more chances to develop a mesenteric adenitis after:

  • Eating pork contaminated with Y. enterocolitica
  • A cold virus or other respiratory infection
  • A stomach virus


Usually, the mesenteric adenitis is not serious. But there are some cases when it can lead to

  • Sepsis, which is a result of an infection causing systemic inflammatory response syndome
  • This is a rare condition that causes inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the outside of the organs in the abdomen.
  • Joint pain called arthralgia
  • Dehydration which can happen if your child has severe diarrhea or vomiting
  • This is a pocket of pus in the abdomen.


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