Glomerulonephritis Symptoms & Treatment | MedStar Health
A doctor points to an anatomical model of a kidney.

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the tiny filters in your kidneys called glomeruli. Glomeruli filter out excess fluid, waste, and electrolytes from your bloodstream and feed them into your urine. This disease can affect people suddenly (acute) or it can be a chronic condition, coming on gradually over time. Severe or prolonged inflammation associated with this condition can result in permanent damage to the kidneys.


The symptoms associated with glomerulonephritis are dependent upon the type you are suffering from, acute or chronic. Early symptoms of acute glomerulonephritis include:

  • Swelling in the face

  • Less frequent urination

  • Pink or rust colored urine due to the presence of blood

  • High blood pressure

It is possible for chronic glomerulonephritis to emerge gradually without signs or symptoms. However, some symptoms may occur, including:

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, and face

  • Frequent nighttime urination

  • Foamy urine due to excess protein content

  • Blood or protein in urine (sometimes microscopic, showing up in urine tests)

  • High blood pressure

  • Abdominal pain

  • Nosebleeds


The goal of glomerulonephritis treatment is to protect your kidneys from further damage and often involves a focus on easing your symptoms. In order to preserve kidney function, keeping your blood pressure under control is essential and your doctor is likely to prescribe blood pressure medication.

For the chronic form of the disease, your doctor may recommend a reduced protein, salt, and potassium diet. Additionally, you may need calcium supplements and diuretics (medicine to reduce swelling).

If your condition continues to progress and you develop kidney failure you will need dialysis and possibly a kidney transplant.

Our providers

Ryan Cleary is a urology and robotic surgery specialist with MedStar Health in Baltimore Maryland.

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