Skip to main content

Mesenteric Adenitis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is mesenteric adenitis?

Mesenteric adenitis is inflammation of lymph nodes in the tissue that surrounds your intestines. Lymph nodes are organs of the immune system that help absorb bacteria and toxins from your body. It is caused by infection from bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Mesenteric adenitis may cause dehydration and loss of electrolytes (minerals), such as sodium. Rarely, it could lead to sepsis (a serious blood infection) or an abscess (pus-filled wound) on your intestine.

What increases my risk for mesenteric adenitis?

  • You are older than 64 years, or younger than 15 years.
  • You are exposed to bacteria, viruses, or parasites that cause infection.
  • You drink contaminated water.
  • You eat contaminated food, or undercooked meats, especially pork.
  • You drink milk that was not pasteurized.

What are the signs and symptoms of mesenteric adenitis?

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pain in the abdomen, especially the lower right side
  • Fatigue and discomfort
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

How is mesenteric adenitis diagnosed?

Your blood or bowel movements will be tested for bacteria, viruses, or parasites that caused your condition. You may also need the following:

  • An ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of your intestines. An ultrasound may be done to show any swelling in your intestines.
  • A CT scan, or CAT scan, is a type of x-ray that takes pictures of your intestines. The pictures may show any swelling in your intestines. You may be given dye to help healthcare providers see the pictures better. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.

How is mesenteric adenitis treated?

Mesenteric adenitis usually goes away without treatment. You may need antibiotics to treat your infection if your condition is severe.

How can mesenteric adenitis be prevented?

  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water. Wash your hands after you use the bathroom, change a child's diapers, or sneeze. Wash your hands before you prepare or eat food.
  • Cook meats all the way through. Use a meat thermometer to make sure meat is heated to a temperature that will kill bacteria. Do not eat raw or undercooked chicken, turkey, seafood, beef, or pork.
  • Drink safe water. Drink only treated water. Do not drink water from ponds or lakes.
  • Drink safe milk. Drink only pasteurized milk. Do not drink raw milk.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • Your symptoms return.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • You pass very little urine.
  • You cannot pass a bowel movement or gas.
  • You are extremely thirsty.
  • You become pale, exhausted, or sweaty without effort.
  • You have swelling in your abdomen.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

Learn more about Mesenteric Adenitis

Treatment options

Care guides

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.