How Can I Tell the Difference Between Mesenteric Adenitis and Appendicitis?

June 16, 2022

It’s safe to say appendicits is a much more well-known condition than mesenteric adenitis. It’s also a much more serious condition than the latter, but it can be easy to confuse one condition for the other.

Read on to learn more about them from our AFC Urgent Care Cleveland team.

What Is Mesenteric Adenitis?

Mesenteric adenitis (also known as mesenteric lymphadenitis) is the swelling of the lymph nodes in the abdomen. It is fairly common among children and teens and rarely affects anyone over the age of 20.

Mesenteric adenitis is most often caused by a viral or bacterial intestinal infection. When the intestines become infected, the body’s lymph nodes become swollen as they work to prevent the infection from spreading to the rest of the body. Although adenitis can be painful, it doesn’t cause any lasting medical issues and will usually clear up on its own between one and four weeks.

Common Mesenteric Adenitis Symptoms

  • Pain in the abdomen, often on the lower right side
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

What Is Appendicitis?

Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix, which is a small pouch that hangs from the right side of the colon. Appendicitis is a very concerning condition, as it can result in a ruptured appendix, which can be life-threatening.

Although both mesenteric adenitis and appendicitis often cause pain on the lower right side of the abdomen, there is one way to tell the difference between the two conditions. Mesenteric adenitis symptoms typically come after some sort of viral and bacterial infection, while appendicitis symptoms come on suddenly and are not preceded by any other illnesses. If you or your child experience the symptoms we’ve listed below, call a doctor or visit the ER right away.

Common Appendicitis Symptoms

  • Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Sudden pain that begins around the navel and often shifts to your lower right abdomen
  • Pain that worsens if you cough, walk or make other jarring movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses

Does your child need non-emergency care? If so, visit our AFC team today!

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