Symptoms of glomerulonephritis 

Glomerulonephritis often doesn't cause any obvious symptoms.

In severe cases of glomerulonephritis, you may see blood in your urine, but this is usually noticed when a urine sample is tested. Your urine may also be frothy if it contains a large amount of protein.

See your GP if you notice blood in your urine, as it can be caused by many conditions besides glomerulonephritis.

Many people with glomerulonephritis also have high blood pressure.

Nephrotic syndrome

If a lot of protein leaks into your urine, the amount of protein in your blood can decrease. This is called nephrotic syndrome and it causes fluid to build up in your body (oedema), because the proteins in your blood normally help keep fluid in the blood vessels.

The build-up of fluid often develops in your legs and lower back, although it can also affect your abdomen, face, hands or lungs. In some cases, these areas may swell.

Other symptoms

Depending on your type of glomerulonephritis, other parts of your body can also be affected and may result in symptoms such as:

  • rashes
  • joint pain
  • breathing problems
  • tiredness

Kidney pain

It's very rare to get kidney pain with glomerulonephritis. If you have kidney pain it's more likely to have another cause, such as:

  • kidney infection – this usually occurs when a bacterial infection spreads from your bladder into one of your kidneys
  • kidney stones – stone-like lumps that can develop in one or both of your kidneys

As kidney pain can have several causes, it's important to see your GP for the correct diagnosis.

Page last reviewed: 12/12/2014

Next review due: 12/12/2016