Mesenteric Adenitis in Kids: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Mesenteric Adenitis In Children – Reasons, Signs, and Treatment

Mesenteric adenitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the lymph nodes. This condition mostly affects children and teenagers. While abdominal pain or pain in the stomach is common in children and is mostly associated with digestive issues, sometimes, it could be because of mesenteric adenitis. Read on to learn about this condition which affects children.

What Is Mesenteric Adenitis?

Mesenteric adenitis or mesenteric lymphadenitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the lymph nodes in the mesentery, inside the abdomen. The lymph nodes, which are a part of the lymphatic system, are a bean-shaped internal organ that contains lymphocytes or white blood cells. Being an important part of the immune system, these lymph nodes help in filtering bacteria and various other kinds of germs from the body.

When this condition occurs, it affects the lymph nodes in tissues also called the mesentery. These tissues are responsible for connecting the intestines to the internal lining of the abdominal wall.

Is Mesenteric Adenitis Different From Appendicitis?

While both the conditions may appear similar because of their symptoms, which are more or less the same, and sometimes, it may become hard to differentiate between the two. However, appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix which is present in the lower right side of the abdomen and mesenteric adenitis is the inflammation in the lymph nodes in the mesentery. Also, the appendicitis symptoms may appear suddenly with or without any illness, however, the symptoms of mesenteric adenitis such as a fever or cold may show up. Appendicitis is a serious condition and may require surgery, but mesenteric adenitis my get better on its own.

What Are the Causes of Mesenteric Adenitis?

Lymph nodes that are a part of the lymphatic system which are present throughout the human body and are an active part of the immune system. They store white blood cells for fighting infections and when any kind of infection occurs, the lymph nodes that are in the close vicinity of the infection get affected the most and thus swell, become painful and cause discomfort in the abdominal region. This condition usually occurs because of viral infections, however, sometimes certain bacterial infection, inflammatory bowel disease, or even cancer can be a cause of mesenteric lymph nodes too.

Signs and Symptoms of Mesenteric Adenitis

Here are some common symptoms of mesenteric adenitis:

  • Fever
  • Pain in the lower right side of the abdomen or other parts of the abdomen
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Lethargy or malaise
  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Weight loss

Who is Most at the Risk?

This condition may occur at any age; however, it is mostly seen in children. If your child falls in any of the following categories then he can be considered at a higher risk of getting this condition:

  • If your child has had a bout of respiratory infection or a cold virus.
  • If your child consumed pork that may have been contaminated with bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica.
  • If your child had the stomach flu.

Complications of Mesenteric Adenitis

Although mesenteric adenitis is not a serious ailment. However, in some cases this condition may result in some of the following complications:

  • It may lead to joint pain also known as arthralgia.
  • It may cause dehydration if the child has been vomiting or has severe diarrhoea.
  • It may form a pus pocket or abscess in the abdomen.
  • It may lead to sepsis, which occurs due to the infection that results from systemic inflammatory response syndrome.
  • It may lead to a rare condition in which the membrane surrounding the abdominal region becomes inflamed, also known as peritonitis.

Diagnosing Mesenteric Adenitis

Sometimes this condition may be difficult to diagnose as the mesenteric adenitis pain may spread to a wider region. Here are some diagnosing techniques that the doctor may use to establish this condition:

  • Checking the medical history (such as any previous bouts of cold, flu, fever, etc.) and physical examination (which can include checking for tenderness or swelling in the belly) of your child.
  • An ultrasound scan can be conducted to check if the intestinal walls have thickened or if there is any visible mesenteric lymph node enlargement.
  • Blood tests can be conducted to check the presence and kind of infection. In some cases, a range of pathogens or even bacteria can be responsible for this condition.
  • CT or computed tomography scan is another method that uses a powerful x-ray imaging technique, is used for examining the abdomen.

Treatment for Mesenteric Adenitis

This condition usually requires no treatment and gets better on its own within a few days after its occurrence. However, if the condition occurs because of any kind of bacterial infection, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic medicines. Also, sometimes the doctor may prescribe OTC painkillers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, etc. However, do not give aspirin to kids for relieving pain as it may sometimes lead to a rare life-threatening condition known as Reye syndrome.

Home Remedies for Mesenteric Adenitis

Although this condition gets better on its own, there are certain home remedies you can try to treat it. Simple home remedies like applying hot compression, increasing your child’s fluid intake, or by making sure that your child gets ample rest can help. Apart from these here are some home remedies or natural treatment options that may make your child feel better soon:

1. Using Wild Indigo

This natural medicine is great for fighting various kinds of infections and cleaning the immune system. However, make sure it is correctly administered to reduce the chances of toxicity. This medicine is usually used in combination with echinacea.

2. Using Echinacea

Echinacea is a herb, which is obtained from the plant of the same name. This herb has infection-fighting properties and thus not only helps in removing toxins from the body but also helps in boosting the immune system.

3. Using Licorice root

This root has anti-inflammatory properties and it is also helpful in enhancing mucosal properties. Using this root can help in increasing healthy bacteria in the intestinal tract, which in turn can help in treating this condition.

How You Can Prevent Mesenteric Adenitis

It is difficult to prevent mesenteric adenitis, however, some steps can be taken to avoid chances of viral and bacterial infections, which can lead to this condition. The following are some preventive measures that can help prevent the chances of this infection in children:

  • Do not let your child come in direct or close contact with people who are suffering from any kind of bacterial or viral infection.
  • Regular hand-washing (for 15 to 20 seconds) should be encouraged to kill or get rid of any harmful bacteria or virus that the child may have come in contact with. Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also helpful.
  • It is important to regularly disinfect places such as bathrooms, kitchen, etc. which if become contaminated may act as the breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
  • Make sure that your child drinks filtered water only.
  • Do not feed any kind of unpasteurized milk to your child. Boil or heat the milk before giving it to your child.
  • Make sure meat or poultry you plan to serve your child is well-cooked, as sometimes bacteria present in uncooked meat such as chicken, turkey, beef, seafood, etc. may cause infections.

When Should You Contact a Doctor?

Usually, kids complain of stomach ache, which usually subsides on its own or by taking OTC painkillers and other medicines. However, sometimes symptoms may become serious and medical intervention may be required. Here are some signs that can be an indication that you need to see a doctor:

  • If your child’s symptoms do not subside and the condition becomes worse.
  • If your child is vomiting, has fever or diarrhoea, or is losing weight.
  • If stomach pain becomes more intense or unbearable.
  • If your child is passing very little urine.
  • If your child becomes exhausted, pale, or starts sweating without any efforts.
  • If your child experiences difficulty in passing gas or stool.

If your child shows any of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms, you should get in touch with your doctor to rule out any complications. Timely diagnosis can help a doctor suggest a treatment for the same.

Also Read:

Stomach Pain in Children
Piles in Children
Indigestion in Children

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Aarohi Achwal holds a bachelor’s degree in Commerce and a master’s degree in English Literature. While working as an intern for an English daily, she realised that she likes writing above anything else. The idea of being heard without having to speak appeals to her. She likes to write research-based articles that are informative and relevant. She has written articles on pregnancy, parenting, and relationships. And she would like to continue creating content on health and lifestyle.