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Post-Streptococcal Glomerulonephritis

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

What is post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis?

Post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN) is an inflammation of your child's kidneys. It can prevent your child's kidneys from getting rid of waste and extra fluid. This can lead to high blood pressure and become harmful to your child. PSGN usually follows a streptococcal infection such as strep throat or impetigo. PSGN is common in children 5 to 12 years of age.

What are the symptoms of PSGN?

Symptoms occur suddenly about 1 to 4 weeks after your child's infection. Your child may have any of the following symptoms:

  • Decreased urination or tea-colored urine
  • Swelling in the face, legs, or feet
  • Fatigue or joint pain
  • Fever or rash
  • Headache
  • Seizures

How is PSGN diagnosed?

Your child's healthcare provider will ask about any infection your child might have had. Urine and blood tests will be done to see how your child's kidneys are working. Your child's provider may order a throat culture if your child had strep throat. The provider will listen to your child's lungs and heart for abnormal sounds. The provider will also check your child's legs and face for swelling.

How is PSGN treated?

  • Medicines:
    • Diuretics may be given to decrease swelling. They work by removing extra fluid in your child's body.
    • Blood pressure medicine may be given to lower your child's blood pressure.
    • Antibiotics help treat a bacterial infection.
    • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If your child takes blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for him or her. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children younger than 6 months without direction from a healthcare provider.
  • Dialysis may be needed if your child has severe kidney failure. Dialysis helps clean your child's blood when his or her kidneys cannot.

How can I manage my child's condition?

  • Help your child rest as directed. Rest is important for your child's recovery. Allow your child to slowly return to normal activities and do more as he or she feels stronger.
  • Monitor your child's blood pressure. Ask your child's healthcare provider how to take a blood pressure and what it should be. Keep a record of your child's blood pressure and bring the record to follow up visits.
  • Monitor how often your child urinates. Write down the number of times your child urinates and the color of the urine.
  • Follow your child's nutrition plan as directed. You may need to limit the sodium (salt) and potassium that your child eats. You may also need to limit the amount of liquid your child drinks. This will help decrease fluid buildup in your child's body.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You cannot wake your child.
  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child is suddenly short of breath or unable to speak in a complete sentence.
  • Your child is breathing fast and his or her heart is beating faster than normal.

When should I seek immediate care?

  • Your child is restless or irritable.
  • Your child has severe vomiting.

When should I call my child's doctor?

  • Your child's face, legs, or feet continue to swell, even with treatment.
  • Your child's blood pressure is not within the range the healthcare provider said it should be.
  • Your child's symptoms last longer than 2 weeks.
  • Your child has a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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