Children's Hospital Colorado
Kidney

Immunoglobulin A (IgA) Nephropathy

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What is IgA nephropathy?

Inflammation of the kidney filters is called glomerulonephritis, and it is often this group of kidney diseases that causes blood in the urine (hematuria). Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy is another disease of the kidney filters that can cause hematuria, but because it is not a "nephritis," it is called "nephropathy," simply meaning something is wrong with the kidney.

What causes IgA nephropathy?

Because the kidneys filter, or clean, your blood all the time, when they aren't functioning properly, blood can leak into the urine. When determining the cause of blood in the urine, your child's doctor looks for many things like infection or injury of the kidney or urinary tract. The urinary tract is the whole system that drains urine, including the tubes (ureters) from the kidneys, the bladder and the outlet (urethra) from the bladder. If there is something wrong with the urinary tract, your child may need to see a pediatric urologist (kidney surgeon) instead of a pediatric nephrologist (medical specialist for the kidney).

No one knows why IgA nephropathy happens, but it can happen more than once and for years. The frequency and duration of the condition does not indicate much about the eventual outcome, and 85% of cases result in no long term kidney damage, with kidney function remaining normal all the while. As a result, direct treatment of the kidneys is not needed. In the majority of cases, the episodes of bloody urine will stop eventually.

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Get to know our pediatric experts.

Eric Benz, MD

Eric Benz, MD

Nephrology - Pediatric, Pediatrics

Eliza Blanchette, MD

Eliza Blanchette, MD

Nephrology - Pediatric, Pediatrics

Vivian Shih, MD

Vivian Shih, MD

Nephrology - Pediatric, Pediatrics

Bradley Dixon, MD

Bradley Dixon, MD

Nephrology - Pediatric, Pediatrics

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