Glomerulonephritis is a condition in which the kidneys cannot filter blood as they should. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent kidney failure.

What is glomerulonephritis?

Glomerulonephritis is a group of kidney diseases that affect the part of the kidneys that filter waste from your blood. When a person has glomerulonephritis these tiny filters in your kidneys do not work properly. Glomerulonephritis can begin slowly (chronic) or begin suddenly (acute).

What are the symptoms of glomerulonephritis?

  • Blood in your urine, stool, or vomit
  • Brown urine
  • Urinating less
  • Tiredness
  • Body aches
  • High blood pressure
  • Swelling in your face and hands
  • Diarrhea or belly pain

Diagnosing glomerulonephritis

To determine if you have glomerulonephritis, your provider will check to see how your kidneys are working.

This may include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • X-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan
  • Kidney biopsy

How glomerulonephritis is treated depends on the type of glomerulonephritis you have and what is causing it.

In most cases your doctor will treat the underlying condition, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or infection.

Your doctor may also recommend that you limit your salt, protein, or fluids.

Treatment also can include:

  • Medication
  • Temporary treatment with an artificial kidney machine
  • Taking diuretics
  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Taking calcium supplements

Glomerulonephritis may get better quickly, or it may get worse over time. If it does not get better it can lead to chronic kidney disease or kidney failure. The only treatment for these conditions is kidney dialysis or kidney transplant. Kidney dialysis is a machine that does the job of your kidneys to filter waste from your blood.

Avoiding infections can help prevent glomerulonephritis.


This includes hand-washing, practicing safe sex and avoiding illicit use of IV drugs.


Although one (uncommon) cause of glomerulonephritis is strep throat, taking antibiotics for strep throat does not prevent development of glomerulonephritis.