Casey's Blog

The Mesentery

Mar 12, 2021

The mesentery is a two piece, fold of peritoneum that attaches onto the back on the belly, or the front of the back, depending on how syou look at it. The other attachment of this fascial sheet is to the entire length of the small intestine and is home to all of the arteries, veins, lymph vessels and nerves. The mesenteric root is the joint fascial attachment points of the mesentery (the green) and the parietal peritoneum (the purple).

The mesentery is a thin, broad sheet of fascia covered in apidose (fat) and full of blood vessels, lymph vessels and nerves that fuel the guts and allow for absorption and digestion. On one side, it’s attached to the small and large intestine and on the other it’s attached to the back of the abdominal cavity from the iliocecal junction (right pelvis) to the duodenojejunal flexure (just left of L2) and crosses several essential structures:

  • the duodenum (D3 - the horizontal aspect)

  • the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava

  • the psoas

  • the right ureter

  • the right testicular and right ovarian vesselsThis only shows the veins (blue) and arteries (red) but there are also nerves and lymph vessels embeded in the mesentery.

  • From a strictly digestive system stand point, if there is tension in the root of the mesentery, which it attaches to the back wall of your belly, you don’t digest your food well because tension in the mesentery can limit blood flow, nerve conduction and lymph flow. The

    Tension in the mesenteric root can compromise blood flow and alter the pressure because it anchors right over the abdominal aorta and inferior vena cava. In can affect the function and resting tension in the psoas, as it anchors right into both the left and right muscles. It can limit flow from the right kidney to the bladder via the right ureter (tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder) and effect the function of the right testicle and ovary.

    The other neat thing about the root of the mesentery is that it’s a double fold. The inner portion is the mesentery, but the outer fold is the parietal peritoneum, which is the two square meters of fascial bag most of your guts live in. I talked about this in last weeks blog, which you can find here.

    Common signs and symptoms of mesenteric root tension are:

    • acute or chronic low back pain

    • immobility of T10 - L2

    • diastasis recti and umbilical hernias (see this post)

    • poor digestion and absorption, malnutrition

    • sciatica symptoms due to blood flow limitations

    • excessive post workout fatigue and recovery

    Any number of things can cause issues in this important structure of the body:

    • gut inflammation from illness, injury, food sensitivities and poor eating habits

    • abdominal surgery from injury to the parietal peritoneum

    • pregnancy

    • car accidents - from internal whiplash

    • a sedentary lifestyle from lack of movement