The Kidney Clinic


Glomerulonephritis is a condition where there is inflammation in the kidneys. It is a type of kidney inflammation that occurs when the glomeruli (small filters in the kidneys) become inflamed. The glomeruli are responsible for filtering waste products and excess fluids from the blood and eliminating them from the body through the urine.

When the glomeruli become damaged or inflamed, they may not function properly, leading to the buildup of waste products in the body and potentially causing a number of health problems.

This can occur suddenly or gradually. IgA nephropathy and lupus nephritis are examples of glomerulonephritis that affect just the kidneys; however, glomerulonephritis may also occur as part of a more systemic illness, such as systemic lupus erythematosus or ANCA vasculitis. However, prolonged and untreated kidney inflammation is associated with permanent kidney damage, and immediate glomerulonephritis treatment is needed to prevent this.

There are several different types of glomerulonephritis, including:

  •  Acute glomerulonephritis: This is a sudden and severe form of the disease that often follows a strep throat infection.
  •  Chronic glomerulonephritis: This is a long-term form of the disease that may progress slowly over time.
  •  Rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis: This is a severe and rapidly progressing form of the disease that can lead to kidney failure within a few weeks or months.


It is essential to see a healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms, as early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent or slow the progression of said disease and can protect kidney function.


The symptoms of glomerulonephritis might differ depending on whether it is acute or chronic and what causes it. In certain cases of chronic illness, you may have no idea anything is wrong until a regular urine test reveals abnormalities (urinalysis).

Common glomerulonephritis symptoms may include:

    • Pink or cola-colored urine from red blood cells in your urine (Hematuria)
    • Bubbly or foamy urine due to excess protein in the urine (Proteinuria)
    • Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
    • Face, hands, and foot swelling due to fluid retention (Oedema)
    • Urinating less than usual

Risk Factors of Glomerulonephritis

The cause of glomerulonephritis can vary. However, certain factors may contribute to its development, which are the following:

    • Infections: Glomerulonephritis can sometimes be caused by infections such as strep throat or pneumonia.
    • Autoimmune disorders: Glomerulonephritis can develop as a result of autoimmune diseases, wherein the immune system mistakenly attacks healthy tissue in the body.
    • Genetic factors: Some forms of glomerulonephritis can be inherited and are caused by genetic factors.
    • Other conditions: Glomerulonephritis can also be caused by other conditions such as lupus, multiple myeloma, and amyloidosis.

Causes of Glomerulonephritis

IgA nephropathy

An antibody called immunoglobulin A (IgA) serves as the body's initial line of defense against pathogens. When IgA antibodies build up in the kidney's filtering units (glomeruli), it is called IgA nephropathy.

Lupus nephritis

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic inflammatory illness that may impact numerous systems in the body, including the joints, kidneys, blood cells, heart, lungs and skin.


Such as polyarteritis nodosa, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis and Viral-associated glomerulonephritis (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV virus).

Goodpasture's syndrome

This uncommon condition, also referred to as anti-GBM disease, occurs when the immune system mistakenly produces antibodies against lung and kidney tissues. As a result, it can cause progressive and permanent damage to the kidneys.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis

Scarring may be seen throughout a portion of the glomeruli that are affected by this disorder. This might be a symptom of another illness, or it could arise spontaneously.

In some cases, the cause of glomerulonephritis may not be known. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help to prevent or slow the progression of the disease and can help to protect kidney function.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for glomerulonephritis will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and the severity of the disease.  Due to the vast array of potential causes of this condition and the complexity of this treatment, we advise a full consultation and assessment for the best treatment available.

Do you have a question about your kidney or medical condition?

Reach out to us for a consultation with Dr Alvin Ng. 

× Contact Clinic