Nephrotic Syndrome

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The fellowship-trained, board-certified pediatric nephrologists with Norton Children’s Nephrology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have the training and experience to treat children with nephrotic syndrome. Our kidney specialists can work with you and your child to improve symptoms and limit damage to the kidneys.

What Is Nephrotic Syndrome?

Nephrotic syndrome is not a disease. However, it can be one of the first signs that there is an issue with the glomeruli, a part of the kidney. Nephrotic syndrome is the name of a collection of various kidney symptoms, including:

  • Edema: Swelling, especially near the stomach area
  • Going to the bathroom less often
  • High cholesterol
  • Hypoalbuminemia: Low levels of protein in the urine
  • Proteinuria
  • Weight gain from extra fluid

Types of Nephrotic Syndrome

The most common type of nephrotic syndrome is idiopathic nephrotic syndrome, meaning it has no direct cause. The most common type of idiopathic nephrotic syndrome is called minimal-change nephrotic syndrome (MCNS). MCNS can cause children to have periods where symptoms are present, but the condition can be managed. Rarely, a child can develop kidney failure that requires dialysis.

Congenital nephrotic syndrome is an inherited form of the condition, meaning it’s present at birth. Children with this type usually have more severe symptoms.

Nephrotic Syndrome Symptoms

Each child will experience symptoms differently. The most common symptoms include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Edema
  • Facial swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Foamy urine
  • Swelling or pain in the abdomen
  • Weight gain

Nephrotic Syndrome Treatment

The pediatric nephrologists with Norton Children’s Nephrology can work with you and your child to develop a unique care plan based on your child’s age, current health, symptoms and medical history. Treatments for nephrotic syndrome may include:

  • Hospitalization: The child may need to be monitored at the hospital, especially during their first experience with nephrotic syndrome, so that factors such as severe edema, high blood pressure or breathing issues can be managed.
  • Medications, including:
    • Albumin (blood protein) given through an IV
    • Corticosteroids
    • Immunosuppressive therapy
    • DASH diet (diet plan that includes restrictions on salt and certain foods)

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