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Mesenteric Adenitis—Child

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Mesenteric Adenitis—Child

(Mesenteric Lymphadenitis)


Mesenteric adenitis is the painful swelling of lymph nodes in the abdomen. Lymph nodes are small, round glands that help fight infection. Infections sometimes make the nodes swell.

Normal Anatomy of the Intestines.

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Mesenteric adenitis is often caused by an infection in the stomach or intestines. Viruses are the most common cause of these infections. However, some may be due to bacteria.

Risk Factors

The risk of mesenteric adenitis is highest in children.


Symptoms often follow a cold. They may include:

  • Pain in the belly, often the lower, right side
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.

Blood and urine tests will be done to look for signs of infection.

Pictures may be taken of abdomen and lymph nodes. This can be done with:


Mesenteric adenitis is usually not serious. Symptoms go away in a few days to weeks. Treatment options may be:

  • Pain relievers
  • Antibiotics—rarely, if there is a lasting bacterial infection


The risk of mesenteric adenitis may be lowered by:

  • Washing hands often
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick




  • Acute abdominal pain in children aged 6-11 years - approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/approach-to/acute-abdominal-pain-in-children-aged-6-11-years-approach-to-the-patient.
  • Gross I, Siedner-Weintraub Y, et al. Characteristics of mesenteric lymphadenitis in comparison with those of acute appendicitis in children. Eur J Pediatr. 2017;176(2):199-205.
  • Mesenteric adenitis. Patient website. Available at: https://patient.info/health/mesenteric-adenitis.
  • Mesenteric adenitis. Radiopaedia website. Available at: https://radiopaedia.org/articles/mesenteric-adenitis.


  • David L. Horn, MD, FACP
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.