To diagnosis your child's condition, your doctor is likely to:
- Perform an exam and take your child's medical history. Your doctor will give your child a physical exam and gather details about his or her signs and symptoms. Your doctor likely will ask about any other medical conditions for which your child has been treated.
- Request laboratory tests. Certain blood tests can help determine whether your child has an infection and what type of infection it is.
- Order imaging studies. A computerized tomography (CT) scan of your child's abdomen can help differentiate between appendicitis and mesenteric lymphadenitis. Abdominal ultrasound also may be used.
Mild, uncomplicated cases of mesenteric lymphadenitis and those caused by a virus usually go away on their own.
Medications used to treat mesenteric lymphadenitis may include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers may help relieve discomfort. Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye's syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed for a moderate to severe bacterial infection.
Lifestyle and home remedies
For the pain and fever of mesenteric lymphadenitis, have your child:
- Get plenty of rest. Adequate rest can help your child recover.
- Drink fluids. Liquids help prevent dehydration from fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
- Apply moist heat. A warm moist washcloth applied to the abdomen can help ease discomfort.
Preparing for your appointment
If your child has signs and symptoms common to mesenteric lymphadenitis, make an appointment with your family doctor or a pediatrician. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
Make a list of the following:
- Your child's symptoms, including nonabdominal symptoms. Include details about when you first noticed these symptoms and how they may have changed or worsened over time. If possible, take your child's temperature several times before your appointment and record the results.
- Your child's key medical information, including any other health conditions and the names of all medications, vitamins and supplements your child is taking. Also bring a record of your child's recent vaccinations. If your child has been seen for similar signs and symptoms in the past, bring those medical records, if possible.
- Key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your child's life.
- Questions to ask your doctor. Creating a list of questions in advance can help you make the most of your time with your doctor.
For possible mesenteric lymphadenitis, some questions you might want to ask include:
- What's the likely cause of my child's condition? Are there any other possible causes?
- What tests does my child need?
- Is my child at risk of complications from this condition?
- Does my child need treatment? If this is due to an infection, should my child take antibiotics?
- What can I do to help make my child more comfortable? What foods should my child avoid?
- What signs or symptoms should prompt me to call you while my child is recovering?
- Is my child contagious?
- When can my child return to school?
What to expect from your doctor
Some questions the doctor may ask include:
- When did symptoms begin?
- Where is the pain located?
- Has the pain moved from one part of your child's abdomen to another part?
- How severe is the pain? Does your child cry with pain?
- What makes the pain more severe?
- What helps relieve the pain?
- Do your child's symptoms include nausea? Vomiting?
- What other signs and symptoms does your child have?
- Has your child had similar problems before? Did you seek medical care for him or her? If so, do you have medical records of that visit?
- Do any other children in your family or at school or child care have similar but milder symptoms that you know of?
- Has your child been diagnosed with any other medical conditions?
- What medications is your child taking?