Mesenteric Lymphadenitis

1 What is Mesenteric Lymphadenitis?

Mesenteric lymphadenitis refers to the inflammation of the lymph nodes in the mesentery of the abdomen.

The mesentery is the tissue that connects the intestine to the abdomen. Inflammation of the lymph nodes results in fever, tenderness, and abdominal pain.

Viral infection in the intestine is one of the most common causes of mesenteric adenitis.

As the symptoms of this condition resemble that of appendicitis, differential diagnosis is important.

Mesenteric adenitis often resolves on its own without any specific treatment.

2 Symptoms

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom of mesenteric lymphadenitis. The pain may usually start with a sore throat or cold.

The pain is felt near the belly button or on the lower right-hand side of the abdomen. This is usually accompanied by high-grade fever.

Patients with lymph inflammation may feel unwell. Nausea and diarrhea are also seen as symptoms.

In some cases, lymphadenitis may remain asymptomatic. In some cases, mesenteric lymphadenitis may be a symptom of other serious conditions like inflammatory bowel disease

3 Causes

Intestinal infection is one of the most common causes of mesenteric lymphadenitis.

Cancers like breast cancer, lymphoma, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer may also lead to mesenteric adenitis.

Both systemic and local infections by viruses, bacteria and parasites lead to inflammation of lymph nodes in the abdomen.

Gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus or norovirus, or those caused by bacterial infections like salmonella and streptococcus result in mesenteric adenitis.

In children, Yersinia enterocolitica infection is one of the common causes of infection.

Infections related to HIV, tuberculosis and ileitis also cause mesenteric lymphadenitis.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of mesenteric lymphadenitis is based on signs and symptoms and physical examination.

In many cases, mesenteric lymphadenitis is diagnosed through images taken for diagnosis of some other condition.

Infection resulting in lymph inflammation can be identified through blood tests.

Urine tests are recommended to check for urinary infection. Thus, diagnosis often involves methods to rule out other possible causes of lymph inflammation.

5 Treatment

In the majority of the cases, no specific treatment is needed for mesenteric lymphadenitis.

Viral infection leading to lymph inflammation resolve on its own.

Fever and pain associated with the disease can be controlled with over-the-counter medications.

Pain killers help to relieve pain and inflammation. For bacterial infections, antibiotics are prescribed. 

6 Prevention

Mesenteric lymphadenitis starts due to infections of the intestine, so preventing infections are the best way to avoid lymph node inflammation in the abdomen.

Having pure, uncontaminated water and food help to provide protection against bacterial infections.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative and homeopathic remedies exist for managing the symptoms of mesenteric lymphadenitis.

Alternative remedies like Echinacea, wild indigo, and licorice help to relieve the symptoms of the inflammation.

Tuberculinum is prescribed in homeopathy to alleviate the symptoms. 

8 Lifestyle and Coping

The best way to cope with the pain and distress of mesenteric lymphadenitis is having plenty of rest.

Taking plenty of water helps in preventing dehydration due to fever and vomiting.

Abdominal discomfort can be reduced by putting a moist cloth on the tummy.

9 Risks and Complications

Mesenteric lymphadenitis rarely causes complications. It usually resolves on its own within few weeks.

In some rare cases, the bacterial infection may spread to the blood causing sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening condition.

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