Sclerosing mesenteritis is a rare disease that affects a fold of tissue that connects the small bowel to the wall of the abdomen. This fold is called the small bowel mesentery. Inflammation and scarring (fibrosis) of the small bowel mesentery are the main features of sclerosing mesenteritis. It occurs most often in persons in their sixties.

How rare is sclerosing mesenteritis?

Sclerosing mesenteritis is estimated to occur in about 0.6% of the population.

Are the causes of sclerosing mesenteritis known?

Finding the cause has been difficult, but it is thought that patients with sclerosing mesenteritis have had abdominal surgery or trauma to the abdomen. They also may have autoimmune diseases in which the body produces an inappropriate immune response to its own tissues and substances.

Some patients with sclerosing mesenteritis may have had cancer. Infection is another possible cause, as some patients with sclerosing mesenteritis have had typhoid fever, dysentery, malaria, and rheumatic fever, among others.

What are the symptoms of sclerosing mesenteritis?

Abdominal pain is the most common symptom. You may also experience:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • A distended(swollen) abdomen
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/02/2016.


  • Akram S, Pardi DS, Schaffner JA, Smyrk TC. Sclerosing mesenteritis: Clinical features, treatment, and outcome in ninety-two patients. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007;5:589-596.
  • Bala A, Coderre SP, Johnson DR, Nayak V. Treatment of sclerosing mesenteritis with corticosteroids and azathioprine. Can J Gastroenterol 2001;15:533.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy