Membranous Nephropathy

What is Membranous Nephropathy?

Membranous Nephropathy is a rare kidney disorder that involves thickening of the lining of the organ. As the tiny blood vessels become chronically inflamed, they deposit higher than normal levels of proteins in the urine.

Initial diagnosis is usually made with a urine test. It can be caused by serious organ infections, cancer, heavy metal poisoning, or autoimmune conditions. It’s possible to manage membranous nephropathy for many years with basic treatment, but severe cases may lead to kidney failure.

What are the Symptoms of Membranous Nephropathy?

This form of nephropathy has distinct symptoms and can cause complications like high blood pressure and blood clots.

Symptoms include

  • Slow or sudden weight gain
  • Visible blood in the urine or orange urine from diluted blood
  • Lack of appetite
  • Noticeable swelling of the extremities and face
  • Unusually foamy urine
  • The need to make more trips to the bathroom at night

These symptoms can be intermittent and hard to track. Seeing a nephrologists at the first sign of dark urine or nighttime urgency is the best way to catch this form of kidney damage before it impairs your organ function.

How is Membranous Nephropathy Treated?

Treating the symptoms allows patients to maintain their current kidney function without further complicating their health. For example, medications to keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control go a long way in keeping membranous nephropathy patients healthy. Diets with controlled levels of sodium and protein reduce the load on the kidneys and maintain a healthier urine balance.

Vitamin D is often supplemented since kidney function loss can reduce the amount of this vitamin available to the body. In cases with severe kidney damage, the only options may be dialysis and eventual organ transplant.

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Last Reviewed:
October 10, 2016
Last Updated:
August 30, 2017