Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Mesenteric lymphadenitis is one of the uncommon forms of inflammation. However, once infected with this disease, the patient's health is significantly affected. The most typical are digestive symptoms. So what causes this disease? What are the symptoms of the disease? Is there any definitive treatment? All will be answered by SignsSymptomsList through the following article.


1. Overview of mesenteric lymphadenitis

Lymphadenitis is a condition in which a person's lymph nodes become infected. The inflammation can affect the lymph nodes in the membrane that connects the intestines to the abdominal wall (the mesentery). At that time, this disease was called mesenteric lymphadenitis .

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Mesenteric lymphadenitis

These lymph nodes are among hundreds that help the body fight infection. They capture and destroy microscopic attackers such as viruses or bacteria. Inflamed mesenteric lymph nodes often cause abdominal pain. This pathology is most common in children and adolescents. It is less common in people over the age of 20.

2. Causes of mesenteric lymphadenitis

Inflamed mesenteric lymph nodes are most commonly caused by an infection.

Some cancers can cause mesenteric lymph nodes to become inflamed, such as:

  • Lymphoma
  • Breast cancer
  • Malignant tumor in the lung
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Cancer of the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, esophagus, etc.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Pancreatic cancer

Infections that can cause mesenteric lymphadenitis include:

  • Gastroenteritis. This pathology can be caused by a viral infection such as rotavirus or norovirus. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection such as Salmonella, staphylococcus, or streptococcus. Gastroenteritis is often mistakenly referred to as stomach flu.
  • Yersinia enterocolitica. This is the most common cause of mesenteric lymphadenitis occurring in children. This bacteria can cause gastroenteritis and related problems. It can resemble Crohn's disease or acute appendicitis.

Rotavirus gastroenteritis

Other less common infections that cause the mesenteric lymph nodes to become inflamed include:

  • Infections directly or indirectly related to HIV. This is the virus that can lead to AIDS.
  • Tuberculosis. This is a bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs. But it can also attack other parts of the body, including the mesenteric lymph nodes.
  • End stage acute ileitis. This is an inflammation of the last part of the small intestine. It could be due to a bacteria or Crohn's disease.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Crohn's disease

Inflammatory diseases that can affect and lead to inflamed mesenteric lymph nodes include:

  • Appendicitis, cecal inflammation.
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Connective tissue diseases such as lupus, sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diverticulitis, inflammation of the lining of the large intestine.
  • Pancreatitis, pancreatic abscess...

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment


3. Symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis

With mesenteric lymphadenitis , an upper respiratory infection can occur just before other symptoms appear. This condition can cause symptoms such as a sore throat. Common symptoms of inflamed mesenteric lymph nodes are:

  • Tightness or pain, usually in the central or lower right area of ​​the abdomen
  • High fever.
  • Inflamed mesenteric lymph nodes often cause symptoms in the lower right abdomen. Therefore, people often mistake it for appendicitis.

You may also have other signs and symptoms. This depends on the cause of the inflammation. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Tired, lethargic.
  • Loss of appetite, loss of appetite.
  • Feeling lack of energy.
  • Increase the number of white blood cells in the blood.
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Pain in the lower right abdomen

4. When to see a doctor?

Abdominal pain is common in children and adolescents, and it can be difficult to know when to seek medical attention. See your doctor right away if your child develops the following symptoms:

  • Sudden, severe abdominal pain.
  • Symptoms of high fever accompanied by abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal pain accompanied by frequent, profuse diarrhea or vomiting.

In addition, call the doctor right away if your child has the following signs and symptoms that do not improve within a short time:

  • Change in bowel habits and symptoms of abdominal pain.
  • Abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
  • Sleep is hindered by severe abdominal pain.

See more: Acute diarrhea is still a common disease in Vietnam

5. How is the disease diagnosed?

The doctor will do a physical exam and take a patient's medical history to find out what other health problems they have. Your doctor may also order necessary tests. For example, a blood test can confirm an infection and identify it.

See also: Stomach flu: overview, symptoms, treatment and prevention

Due to the large number of lymph nodes in the same area as the appendix (right lower abdomen). Therefore, the symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis are  similar to those of appendicitis (inflamed appendix). Your doctor may use imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan. The goal is to rule out appendicitis, which is a medical emergency.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

General abdominal ultrasound

One thing to keep in mind: If it is suspected that you may be pregnant, a pregnancy test is necessary. Because dangerous conditions such as ectopic pregnancy can occur in the first 3 months of pregnancy. This condition can cause symptoms similar to those of mesenteric lymphadenitis .

6. How to treat the disease?

Mild, uncomplicated cases of mesenteric lymphadenitis  and those caused by viruses. So the disease usually goes away on its own, although it can take four weeks or more to fully recover. To treat fever or pain, consider giving the patient an over-the-counter fever and pain reliever. Especially medicines for babies or children like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen. These drugs are seen as a safer alternative to aspirin.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

Ibuprofen fever reducer

Use caution when giving aspirin to children or adolescents. Although aspirin is approved for use in children over 3 years of age. However, children and adolescents recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should not take aspirin. This condition is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition in children. Antibiotics may be prescribed for moderate to severe bacterial infections.

Some other methods to help manage symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis  include:

  • Rested.
  • Drink water to rehydrate after vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Apply heat to the abdomen.

7. Complications related to inflamed mesenteric lymph nodes

Upper respiratory tract infections sometimes develop in people with mesenteric lymphadenitis . Doctors usually treat these infections with antibiotics.

8. Prevention

We can reduce our risk of developing infectious mesenteric lymphadenitis  by:

  • Wash hands often with soap. Wash hands before eating and after using the toilet.
  • Eat well, drink well, especially during the epidemic and flood season.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick such as tuberculosis, gastrointestinal infections, pneumonia, etc.
  • Keep food preparation areas clean to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria.

Some vaccines can prevent gastrointestinal infections. Thereby helping us to somewhat limit the risk of mesenteric lymph node infections. The most common vaccines include:

  • Vaccine against rotavirus diarrhea. Currently, there are 03 vaccines in Vietnam: Rotavin M1 (Vietnam), Rotarix (Belgium), and Rotateq (USA).
  • Vaccine against diarrhea caused by cholera: mORCVAX produced in Vietnam. This is an oral vaccine.
  • Vaccines against typhoid: Typhoid VI (Vietnam) and Typhim VI (France).

Mesenteric lymphadenitis: Causes, symptoms and treatment

mORCVAX . vaccine

9. Conclusion

Mesenteric lymphadenitis, though uncommon, can cause severe symptoms. Therefore, for this pathology, we should not be subjective. When you have any signs that you may be at risk, you should seek medical attention immediately. Maintaining a clean lifestyle combined with vaccinations will help reduce the risk of disease.

Dr. Nguyen Lam Giang

See also: Digestive disorders: how to diagnose and treat?