The key difference between pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis is that pyelonephritis is the inflammation of the kidney due to the urinary tract infections that reach the renal pelvis of the kidney, while glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of tiny blood vessels of the kidney known as glomeruli.
Nephritis is the inflammation of the kidneys, and it may involve the glomeruli, tubules, and the interstitial tissue surrounding the glomeruli and tubules. Nephritis is often caused by infections or toxins. But it is also commonly caused by autoimmune diseases such as lupus, which affect the major organs in the body like kidneys. Pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis are two types of inflammations identifying in kidneys.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Pyelonephritis
3. What is Glomerulonephritis
4. Similarities – Pyelonephritis and Glomerulonephritis
5. Pyelonephritis vs Glomerulonephritis in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Pyelonephritis vs Glomerulonephritis
What is Pyelonephritis?
Pyelonephritis is an inflammation of the kidney that occurs due to urinary tract infections that reach the renal pelvis of the kidney. In fact, it is typically due to a bacterial infection. The symptoms may include fever, flank tenderness, nausea, burning sensation during urination, and frequent urination. Complications can also be noticed in this condition, such as pus around the kidney, sepsis, and kidney failure. The bacterial infection most commonly is caused by E. coli in pyelonephritis. Risk factors such as sexual intercourse, urinary tract infection, diabetes, structural problems of the urinary tract, and spermicide use further increase the chances of this bacterial infection. The infection usually spreads through the urinary tract. Less often, it occurs through the bloodstream.
Pyelonephritis affects 1 to 2 per 1000 women and just under 0.5 per 1000 males each year. Young adult women are affected frequently by this condition. With treatment, the outcomes are generally good in young adults. However, people over 65 years are at risk of death due to weak immunity. Pyelonephritis is mainly classified into two types; acute pyelonephritis and chronic pyelonephritis.
The diagnosis is normally made through observing symptoms and urinalysis. Medical imaging can also perform in severe conditions. It is generally treated with antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin, ceftriaxaone, fluoroquinolones, cephalosporins, aminoglycosides, or trimethoprim. Moreover, pyelonephritis may be preventable by urination after sex and drinking sufficient fluids. Recently, it was identified that drinking cranberry juice might reduce the risk of getting pyelonephritis.
What is Glomerulonephritis?
Glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of tiny blood vessels in the kidney known as glomeruli. Glomeruli filter the blood and remove the excess fluid. Glomerulonephritis is a serious illness and requires immediate treatment. There are two types: acute glomerulonephritis and chronic glomerulonephritis. Acute glomerulonephritis can be due to a response to an infection such as strep throat or abscessed tooth. It can also be due to systematic lupus, good pasture syndrome, amyloidosis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis, and polyarteritis nodosa. This condition can go without treatment. Chronic glomerulonephritis develops over several years, and can cause irreversible damages to the kidneys. It can be due to a hereditary condition, certain immune disease, cancer, and exposure to some hydrocarbon solvents.
Glomerulonephritis has features like puffiness in the face, less urination, blood in the urine, extra fluid in the lungs, high blood pressure, excess protein in urine, swelling in the ankles and face, frequent nighttime urination, abdominal pain, and frequent nose bleeds. Glomerulonephritis can be diagnosed through urine testing, blood testing, imaging testing, and immunology testing. The treatments include high blood pressure medications (ACE inhibitors), corticosteroids to prevent the immune system from attacking kidneys, plasmapheresis, diuretics, reducing the amount of protein, salt, and potassium in chronic glomerulonephritis, dialysis, and kidney transplant.
What are the Similarities Between Pyelonephritis and Glomerulonephritis?
- Pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis are two conditions arising due to inflammation of the kidney.
- These conditions can cause kidney failures.
- They are divided into two types: acute and chronic.
- Both females and males are affected by pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis.
- Infection is the main cause of both conditions.
What is the Difference Between Pyelonephritis and Glomerulonephritis?
Pyelonephritis is the inflammation of the kidney caused due to a urinary tract infection that reaches the renal pelvis of the kidney. In contrast, glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of tiny blood vessels of the kidney known as glomeruli. So, this is the key difference between pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis. Furthermore, pyelonephritis is typically due to a bacterial infection in the urinary tract, while glomerulonephritis can be due to a bacterial infection in the throat and an abscessed tooth.
The following infographic lists the differences between pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis in tabular form.
Summary – Pyelonephritis vs Glomerulonephritis
Nephritis is a condition where the functional units of the kidney (nephrons) are infected and undergone inflammation. Nephritis is caused by infections, toxins, and autoimmune diseases. Pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis are two types of inflammations of the kidney. Pyelonephritis is the inflammation of the kidney that results from a urinary tract infection that reaches the renal pelvis of the kidney, while glomerulonephritis is the inflammation of tiny blood-filtering vessels known as glomeruli of the kidney. Thus, this is the summary of the difference between pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis.
1. DiMaria, Christine. “Pyelonephritis: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Pregnancy & More.” Healthline, Healthline Media.
2. “Glomerulonephritis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
1. “Ultrasonography of chronic pyelonephritis with reduced kidney size and focal cortical thinning” By Kristoffer Lindskov Hansen, Michael Bachmann Nielsen and Caroline Ewertsen – (2015). “Ultrasonography of the Kidney: A Pictorial Review”. Diagnostics 6 (1): 2. DOI:10.3390/diagnostics6010002. ISSN 2075-4418. (CC-BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Post-infectious glomerulonephritis – intermed mag” By Nephron – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia