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Nephritis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Nephritis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Nephritis is a condition in which the functional units of the kidneys called nephrons become inflamed.

This condition is commonly referred to as glomerulonephritis which can affect your kidney function adversely.

Your kidney is a bean-shaped organ that filters the blood circulating in the body and removes waste products and excess water from the blood.

There are several types of nephritis along with a range of causes. Some types of nephritis occur suddenly while others develop due to chronic conditions.

Symptoms of nephritis are very rarely severe in the early stage. The following are the signs and symptoms that nephritis causes that may also indicate that you have a kidney issue:

  • Foamy urine
  • Dark or pink-colored urine due to red blood cells in urine
  • Changes in urinating habits
  • Swelling anywhere in the hands, feet, ankles, face, or any part of the body
  • Blood in the urine
  • High blood pressure

In case you experience such symptoms, you should consult a doctor.


Most types of nephritis are caused due to your immune system reacting negatively. This might be due to change in immune system behaviour, infection, medication, or poison.

Your immune system produces antibodies that attack bacteria, viruses, and infections in the body. Overproduction of antibodies can damage your kidneys and nephrons, causing swelling and scarring.

However, the nephritis causes depend on its type. They are as follows:

Acute glomerulonephritis

It is a form of nephritis that develops suddenly after a severe infection like HIV, strep throat, or hepatitis. This condition can cause acute inflammation of the kidneys. A patient requires immediate medical attention during flare-ups to prevent kidney damage.

Chronic glomerulonephritis

This condition develops slowly and causes a few symptoms in the early stage. Chronic glomerulonephritis can cause kidney failure or severe kidney damage. This condition can pass through genes and develop after a sudden disease.

Interstitial nephritis

This condition usually develops due to a particular medication or infection. Interstitial nephritis affects the part of the kidney called the interstitium.

Alport syndrome

Alport syndrome or hereditary nephritis is a disease that leads to kidney failure along with vision and hearing problems. This condition is more severe in men and is passed on in the genes.

Lupus nephritis

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body tissues and organs. According to some studies, doctors believe people diagnosed with lupus end up developing lupus nephritis.

IgA nephropathy

IgA nephropathy is a common form of nephritis. This condition develops when IgA antibody deposits build up in your kidneys and cause pain. People with IgA neuropathy have defective IgA antibodies.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of developing nephritis and kidney disease are:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • A family history of kidney disease
  • Age above 60 years
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity


Patients usually do not discover nephritis until significant kidney is damaged.

Most often, people find such type of kidney issue during routine health checkups like investigating the reasons for blood pressure increase.

Your doctor may order urine tests like a dipstick test for blood in urine and/or albumin test. Albumin is a protein produced in the liver. If the protein albumin is found in the urine, your doctor may order more urine tests to find the amount of protein.

Your doctor may order for a blood test to measure creatinine to learn about kidney function. Your doctor might also suggest an eGFR test – estimated glomerular filtration rate.

Other than that, your doctor may suggest a kidney biopsy. In this procedure, the doctor will insert a needle that reaches your kidney to remove a small piece of kidney tissue and send it for analysis.

Also, ultrasound is suggested that examines your kidneys using sound waves to outline the structure of organs. Additionally, CT scan or MRI may be suggested as the radio-frequency wavelengths and a strong magnetic field provides a clear and detailed picture of internal organs and tissues.


The treatment of nephritis completely depends on the type of nephritis you are suffering from.

Many types need only observation and no treatment and rarely cause long-term kidney damage. However, it is important that you control your high blood pressure. It is the most important treatment for nephritis.

Your doctor may prescribe fish oil supplements or diuretics to reduce inflammation and remove excess water from the body.

In case you need expert advice or need to understand this condition in detail, you can always consult a nephrologist. You can discuss the type of nephritis, its diagnosis, its treatments and all other essential details.

Ensure you are not ignoring the symptoms of nephritis, and getting medical attention immediately.

Lifestyle Changes

Adopt a healthy diet

Adequate portions of sodium and healthy dietary routine boosts your kidney and overall health. Excess phosphorus is not good for your health, especially when your kidney functions are weak. Therefore, ensure you lower the consumption of phosphorus. Also, include nutritious food items in your diet that are loaded with protein, antioxidants, calcium, and minerals.

Maintain blood pressure

High blood pressure is a common cause of all kidney-related problems. If you have blood pressure problems, ensure you take care of your diet and blood pressure. Know your triggers and take medicines as prescribed and directed by your doctor.

Quit smoking

Nicotine is poisonous not only for your kidneys, but also for your overall health. Therefore, it is best to quit smoking to boost the functioning of your kidneys and overall health.

Weight loss

Excess weight increases the risk of obesity that can lead to other health complications like diabetes and high blood pressure. Therefore, it is best to lose weight and maintain a proper physique.

Control diabetes or manage blood sugar levels

Like high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels can cause kidney-related problems. Ensure you are using medicines and following lifestyle changes to keep your blood sugar levels in control.

Regular workout

Regular workout regime keeps your body fit and fat-free. Doing this along with other lifestyle changes prevents several health conditions. Also, it is one of the best techniques to burn extra fat in the body and maintain a healthy weight.

Home Remedies

A few home remedies can control and prevent this type of kidney condition.

  • Grapes: Grapes are low in sodium chloride and albumin, which is believed to be good while in any kind of kidney disease.
  • Banana: Bananas are low in protein and salt and high in carbs, they are effective in treating nephritis.
  • Coconut water: The water from green coconut is an effective and natural diuretic. Drink twice a day for positive results.
  • Avocado: Avocado is rich in minerals and low in protein which is beneficial for treating nephritis.
  • Carrot juice: Drinking carrot juice with a tablespoon of fresh lime juice in the morning has positive effects on treating nephritis.

Also, it will be effective if a person with nephritis goes on a juice diet for around 9 days. After the juice diet, you should be on a fruit and fruit juice diet for six days followed by 4 days of juice only diet.

Ensure you discuss with your doctor about the fruit and fruit juice diet to get the most of it. Also, discuss your queries and doubts on this diet and other remedies for nephritis with your doctor.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Lifestyle Changes to Manage Chronic Kidney Disease/https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=103158/Accessed on 26/05/2020 Lupus nephritis/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lupus-nephritis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20446438/Accessed on 26/05/2020 Glomerulonephritis/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glomerulonephritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355705/Accessed on 26/05/2020 Alport Syndrome/https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/alport/Accessed on 26/05/2020 IgA nephropathy (Berger's disease)/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/iga-nephropathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20352268/Accessed on 26/05/2020 Interstitial Nephritis/https://familydoctor.org/condition/interstitial-nephritis/Accessed on 26/05/2020  
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Written by Nikita Bhalla Updated Apr 02, 2021
Fact Checked by Hello Doctor Medical Panel