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Nephritis: symptoms, causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The kidneys are vital organs that perform functions as necessary as purifying the blood and helping to eliminate toxins, which is essential to maintain the health of the body in perfect condition. Among the different disorders that the kidneys can suffer is nephritis, which refers to any renal inflammatory process; This can present you in a timely and temporary way or, on the contrary, in a long way and get worse as time goes by. For this reason and to avoid serious complications, it is essential to be treated medically since a specific treatment will be required depending on the factor causing kidney inflammation. In this FastlyHeal article, we explain in detail the are symptoms, causes, and treatment of nephritis.

Symptoms of nephritis

First of all, it is essential to clarify that kidney inflammation can compromise the health of different parts of this organ, and based on the location of the swelling, it can be distinguished between:

  • Interstitial nephritis: The spaces between the kidney tubules become inflamed.
  • Membranous nephropathy: Inflammation occurs in the kidneys’ tiny blood vessels, called glomeruli, which help filter waste and extra fluids from the blood.

The symptoms of nephritis can vary from one patient to another depending on the type or subtype of nephritis (explained in the next section). Still, in general, the inflammation of one or both kidneys can include the suffering of:

  • Kidney or lower back pain is unilateral or bilateral.
  • Significant changes in the urine: persistent and painful urination, darker (brown) and foamy urine, or presence of blood in the urine (hematuria).
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • General malaise.
  • Generalized swelling is more frequent in the feet, ankles, legs, and hands.
  • Headaches.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Generalized itching or itching.
  • Weakness and drowsiness
  • Elevation of blood pressure.
  • Fever.

Causes of nephritis

The causes of nephritis can be very diverse and, therefore, taking these into account, this kidney condition is classified into the subtypes that we detail below.

Nephritis lúpica

It is the inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, an autoimmune pathology in which the immune system, instead of protecting the body from possible infections or external agents that can damage it, mistakenly attacks healthy tissue.

Lupus erythematosus can affect different parts of the kidney and lead to suffering from interstitial nephritis, membranous nephropathy, or nephrotic syndrome (symptoms such as low protein in the blood, protein in the urine, high cholesterol, and inflammation). In this case, it will be convenient to treat the underlying disease to avoid complications such as acute or chronic kidney failure.


In this case, kidney inflammation is caused by an infection that begins in the urinary tract and later reaches the kidneys, impairing their proper functioning and performance.

Generally, the main trigger for this infection is the rise of microorganisms from the fecal flora through the ureters, which are the tubes that allow the kidneys and bladder to communicate. Among the microorganisms responsible for the infection are Escherichia coliKlebsiella spp, and Proteus spp, the former being the most frequent.

It will be essential to get into treatment as soon as possible so that the evolution of the disease is favorable because although the prognosis is excellent, when there are also significant pathologies, such as diabetes or kidney failure, more severe complications may appear, such as sepsis, which is the body’s inflammatory response to a severe infection.

Nephritis Athletica

This type of kidney inflammation appears as a consequence of strenuous physical exercise. It may cause an asymptomatic picture in which proteinuria (higher levels of protein in the urine), blood in the urine, and cylindruria (presence of silicon in urine).

Other possible causes of nephritis can be the consumption of certain medications, especially abuse of some analgesics or anti-inflammatories, excessive alcohol intake, or suffering from other diseases, such as diabetes, AIDS, syphilis, stones or stones in the kidney, hyperuricemia (elevated levels of uric acid in the blood), some types of cancer, etc.

Diagnosis and treatment of nephritis

Given the manifestation of the symptoms described above, it is essential to see a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will study the patient’s medical history, perform a physical examination, and confirm the diagnosis of nephritis. They may order specific tests or examinations, such as a urinalysis, a blood test, or an MRI.

The treatment of nephritis will depend on the cause that is causing it, so it will always be focused on reducing the symptoms presented and improving kidney function, preventing inflammation from leading to more severe conditions or conditions such as kidney failure.

In those cases in which the inflammation of the kidney is the consequence of an inevitable bacterial infectious process, the doctor may prescribe the administration of antibiotic treatment for a few weeks to definitively eliminate the microorganisms responsible for the infection. It will be necessary to strictly follow the medical indications regarding drug treatment’s appropriate dose and duration.

When it comes to lupus nephritis, kidney inflammation is a complication of systemic lupus erythematosus. Treatment may include taking drugs that suppress the immune system or immunosuppressive drugs, usually corticosteroids, mycophenolate mofetil, aziotiprine, or cyclophosphamide.

On the other hand, medications for high blood pressure, anti-inflammatory drugs, or diuretics may also be necessary. The latter will help the kidneys excrete the excess water and salt they contain.

Only in those cases in which kidney damage has progressed to severe inflammation may the doctor recommend starting renal replacement therapy with dialysis.

Other favorable measures in case of nephritis

In addition to prompt medical treatment, nephritis patients must have healthy lifestyles and take into account measures such as the following to improve kidney functions and promote the health of their kidneys:

  • Increase the daily consumption of water and control the intake of fluids. Weakly mineralized water should be chosen to promote the elimination of toxins and harmful substances that can impair the proper functioning of the kidneys.
  • Follow a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits, moderating the consumption of dairy products and avoiding the intake of foods rich in fats and sugars.
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your meals.
  • Take rest when kidney pain is intense and robust.
  • Maintain good genital hygiene, wiping from front to back when toileting.
  • Always urinate after sexual intercourse to avoid bacterial infections.
  • Don’t abuse over-the-counter pain relievers.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Nephritis: symptoms, causes, and treatment, we recommend that you enter our Kidneys and urinary system category.

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