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Glomerular Disease Symptoms & Diagnosis


Glomerulonephritis sometimes causes no symptoms and is discovered during a routine urine test. When present, the symptoms of acute and chronic glomerulonephritis differ from one another.

The symptoms of acute glomerulonephritis may include:

  • Blood in urine (red, brown, or tea-colored urine)
  • Foamy appearance of urine
  • Less frequent urination
  • Swelling in the morning, especially in the face, feet, hands, and abdomen

Chronic glomerulonephritis can lead to kidney failure, which may cause these symptoms:

  • Feeling tired
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Poor appetite
  • Muscle cramps at night
  • Swelling of the face, feet, hands, or abdomen


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. You may be referred to a doctor who specializes in kidney disease for further diagnostic testing and treatment (nephrologist).

Tests may include:

  • Urinalysis—test to look for blood, protein, bacteria, and other evidence of kidney damage in the urine
  • Blood tests—tests to check how well the kidneys are functioning and to look for medical conditions that may be causing glomerulonephritis
  • Ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to create images of the kidneys
  • Abdominal CT scan —a type of x-ray test that uses a computer to create detailed images of the structures inside the abdomen, including the kidneys
  • Kidney biopsy —removal of a sample of kidney tissue with a needle to test for glomerulonephritis

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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