Glomerulonephritis Symptoms & Causes

LIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke ThisLIke This


There are two main types of glomerulonephritis:

  • Acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (APSGN)
    • APSGN is caused by a bacterial infection, like strep throat.
    • APSGN is a relatively uncommon disease affecting about one of every 10,000 people, but it is the most common form of glomerulonephritis in children.
    • It is most common among boys between age 3 and 7, but it can occur at any age.
    • Many people with APSGN are asymptomatic (showing no symptoms of the disease).
  • Glomerulonephritis (GN)

GN may be caused by several different disease states or by a genetic disorder.    Some disease states associated with GN include:

  • systemic diseases, such as lupus
  • polyarteritis nodosa group - an inflammatory disease of the arteries
  • Wegener vasculitis - a progressive disease that leads to widespread inflammation of all of the organs in the body
  • Henoch-Schvnlein purpura - a disease usually seen in children and associated with purpura (small or large purple lesions on the skin and internally on the organs) that involves multiple organ systems

GN can also result from a gene on the X chromosome passed from carrier mothers who have no features, or minimal features of GN, to their sons, who are affected with the disorder in 50 percent of the cases.

What are the symptoms of glomerulonephritis?

Symptoms of glomerulonephritis may depend on whether your child has the acute or chronic form, and symptoms also differ depending on what caused the glomerulonephritis.

Symptoms may include:

  • cola-colored or iced tea-colored urine (from blood and protein)
  • sore throat
  • diminished urine output
  • fatigue
  • lethargy
  • nausea and vomiting
  • increased breathing effort
  • headache
  • high blood pressure
  • seizures (may occur as a result of high blood pressure)
  • rash, especially on the buttocks and legs
  • weight loss
  • joint pain
  • pale skin color
  • edema (fluid accumulation in the tissues)
  • hyperpigmentation (skin may appear yellow or brown)
We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944