What is interstitial-nephritis?

By Medically reviewed by hellodoktor

Know the basics

What is interstitial-nephritis?

Kidneys get rid of waste products and balance body fluids. Each kidney has 1 million tiny filters called nephrons. A nephron is a tiny coiled tube with a bulb at one end. Nephrons take urine to the tube (ureter) connecting kidneys to the bladder.

Nephritis is inflammation (swelling) of nephrons. Interstitial nephritis means a disorder affecting spaces around nephrons. It can be acute or chronic.

How common is interstitial-nephritis?

Interstitial nephritis can affect patients at any age, but more often found in old people. Interstitial nephritis accounts for 10% – 15% of all renal failure cases. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of interstitial-nephritis?

Symptoms include fever and rash. The urine may contain abnormal cells. These cells are eosinophils, a kind of white blood


Often, people may not have symptoms until kidney function is very poor. By then, symptoms of renal failure (weakness, nausea, itchiness, vomiting, leg swelling, and a metal taste in the mouth) occur.

When infection is causing nephritis, people have fever, chills, low back pain, and urinary symptoms (burning, frequency, hesitancy, and bloody urine). Blood pressure may be high and sometimes hard to control.

There may be some signs or symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Blood in your urine or you have chills, a fever, and low back pain.
  • Having rash after starting new medicine, you’re allergic to penicillin or other antibiotics, or you have drug side effects.

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes interstitial-nephritis?

Interstitial nephritis is usually caused by medicines, including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and diuretics. Other drugs, as well as infections with bacteria and viruses, can also cause it. Rarely, it’s associated with immune system disorders such as lupus, sarcoidosis and Sjogren’s syndrome. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for interstitial-nephritis?

There are many risk factors for interstitial nephritis, such as:

  • Not following doctor’s description in adults.
  • Infection in children.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is interstitial-nephritis diagnosed?

Treatment aims to fix failing kidneys and metabolic problems associated with kidney failure (high potassium, low calcium, and high phosphorus levels; low blood counts).

A nephrologist (specialist in kidney disease) may help with care. Treatment also tries to correct the underlying cause. If a drug is causing the acute disorder, the problem drug is stopped. Bacterial infections are treated with an antibiotic. If people don’t respond to initial treatment, corticosteroids such as prednisone may be given. If corticosteroids don’t work, stronger medications such as cyclophosphamide may be tried.

How is interstitial-nephritis treated?

The doctor makes a diagnosis from the medical history, physical examination, and blood and urine tests. The doctor may use ultrasonography, which uses sound waves to get pictures of the kidneys. For an unclear diagnosis, the doctor may want a kidney biopsy. In a biopsy a special needle is inserted in the kidney and a small piece of kidney tissue is removed and examined with a microscope.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage interstitial-nephritis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with interstitial nephritis:

  • Know that most acute disorders get better in a few days after the problem drug is stopped.
  • Take your medicines as prescribed.
  • understand that about one-third of people with the acute illness will need temporary dialysis.
  • Realize that people with persistent (chronic) illness usually have kidney failure and may need permanent dialysis.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

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

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