What are the symptoms of glomerulonephritis?

Symptoms of glomerulonephritis are usually progressive (worsen over time). They result from the kidneys’ inability to filter the blood and an increased leakiness of the glomeruli, which allows waste to build up in the bloodstream and blood and protein to pass into the urine. Sometimes, glomerulonephritis may be symptomless. In other cases, symptoms of glomerulonephritis can be severe and progress very quickly.

Early symptoms of glomerulonephritis

You may experience glomerulonephritis symptoms daily or only occasionally. Any of these symptoms can be severe:

  • Bloody or pink colored urine (hematuria)
  • Dark colored urine
  • Edema (swelling) of the legs, abdomen and body
  • Foamy urine
  • General ill feeling
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite

Later symptoms of glomerulonephritis

As glomerulonephritis worsens, symptoms may worsen and more symptoms may become apparent including:

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, glomerulonephritis can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Bloody stool (blood may be red, black, or tarry in texture)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Uncontrollable nosebleeds
  • Vomiting blood


What is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammatory disease of the kidneys, specifically the glomeruli. The glomeruli are the part of the kidneys in charge of filtering waste from the bloodstream. Glomeruli can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. Once inflamed, the glomeruli cannot filter waste properly and become leaky, which allows protein and blood to pass into the urine.

Symptoms of g... Read more about glomerulonephritisintroduction


What causes glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is caused by inflammation of the glomeruli, the filtering structures within the kidney. Inflammation can arise from a variety of conditions, often autoimmune and genetic in origin. Exposure to certain chemicals and infections can also lead to glomerulonephritis. Sometimes, the precise cause of glomerulonephritis is not known.

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How is glomerulonephritis treated?

Early glomerulonephritis may not require treatment. In some cases, it spontaneously resolves. For symptomatic glomerulonephritis, treatment depends on the cause of the glomerulonephritis. One of the primary goals of glomerulonephritis treatment is controlling blood pressure to avoid further damage to the kidneys.

Medications for glomerulonephritis

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 23, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Kidneys and the Urinary System

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