Sclerosing Mesenteritis

What is Sclerosing Mesenteritis?

Sclerosising Mesenteris is a condition that affects the tissue that helps maintain the position of the small intestine. This tissue is called the mesentery. This disorder causes the tissue that is meant to hold the small intestine in place to become inflamed. Over time, the swelling creates scar tissue.

This disorder is extremely rare and researchers are still unclear about what causes it.

While some patients experience pain, bloating and diarrhea due to the inflammation, others do not have any symptoms at all. Patients who do not have symptoms usually do not require treatment.

There have been severe cases where the frequent inflammation that forms scar tissue build up and blocked food from passing through the intestine. In serious conditions like this, surgery is required to get rid of the blockage and remove the severely damaged piece of intestine.

What are the Symptoms of Sclerosing Mesenteritis?

Sclerosisng mesenteritis is a rare disease. Unfortunately, this disease has several symptoms that can be very difficult to live with. The most commons symptoms of this disease are:

  • Degeneration of the intestines
  • Inflammation of the intestines
  • Scaring in the intestines
  • Scaring of the tissue that attaches the intestines to the interior wall of the abdomen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Decreased appetite
  • Constipation
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

It is important to keep in mind that not every person who has sclerosing mesenteritis develops symptoms. Actually, a large majority of patients do not have any symptoms of the disorder.

Sclerosing Mesenteritis Causes

While experts aren’t sure exactly what causes sclerosing mesenteritis, there is evidence to suggest that it could be linked to autoimmune diseases. Biopsies of the affected tissues usually show evidence of chronic inflammation which is often caused by autoimmune disorders, and patients often exhibit symptoms such as fatigue and fever, which are common in autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s and rheumatoid arthritis. Plus, many patients with sclerosing mesenteritis have a family history of autoimmune disease.

However, in some cases of sclerosing mesenteritis it appears that the condition occurs after acute inflammation of the mesentary, which can be caused by:

  • Surgery or trauma to the abdominal area
  • Infection
  • Medications known to cause inflammation
  • Deficient blood supply to the area

However, it is believed that these inflammatory reactions may have occurred as a result of an underlying autoimmune disorder.

Finally, some patients with sclerosing mesenteritis are found to have an underlying form of cancer, or have had a history of cancer, which suggests that in some instances cancer is the cause of the condition.

How is Sclerosing Mesenteritis Treated?

If you do not have any symptoms of sclerosing mesenteritis, there is a very high chance that you will not need to receive treatment. However, your doctor will want to preform regular imaging scans to ensure that you do not have any underlying symptoms developing.

For cases where there are symptoms present, your doctor will prescribe medications that are meant to control inflammation. The most used medications are:

  • Corticosteroids – like prednisone.
  • Hormone treatment with tamoxifen.

Surgery may be necessary if there is a blockage that is preventing food from making it through your intestines. After they remove the blockage, they will determine whether any of the intestine is damaged. If there is damage, they will remove the damaged portion of the intestine so that an infection does not develop.

Sclerosing Mesenteritis Prevention

It isn’t clear whether sclerosing mesenteritis can be prevented, but it may be possible to reduce the risk of it occurring in individuals with autoimmune disorders by managing the disorder as successfully as possible.

Autoimmune disorders tend to cause chronic inflammation of tissues which is what seems to lead to sclerosing mesenteritis. Medication and lifestyle changes may help to manage the disease and reduce inflammation.

For example, Crohn’s disease flareups can be made worse by certain types of food, and patients with the condition may be able to identify triggering foods and adopt a diet which avoids them. Physical and emotional stress is also known to cause many autoimmune diseases to worsen, so it’s important to get plenty of rest and adjust lifestyle factors which contribute to stress.

Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
November 02, 2017