It’s estimated that 40 million American adults experience anxiety. And while there are many reasons for anxiety, one is a bit mysterious. Undetected ulcers can actually make people feel anxious and irritable. So, if you experience anxiety that doesn’t seem to make any sense, or if your anxiety occurs after mealtime, there’s a chance that there’s an ulcer causing it.

You’re probably already familiar with what an ulcer is, but let’s review just so we’re all on the same page. Ulcers are sores or open wounds in the gastrointestinal tract. Some people feel pain or uncomfortable sensations if they have ulcers. But sometimes ulcers exist without any noticeable physical symptoms.

But that doesn’t mean your body isn’t deeply affected by them. The open wound or sore causes irritation in the gut. The gut then sends signals to the brain. And since the brain might not understand this signal from the nervous system, you might react emotionally.

What kind of emotions? You might become reactive, irritated, sensitive and anxious.

John Immel, of Joyful Belly School of Ayurveda Diet & Digestion, has given a name to this condition. It’s something he refers to as Clamoring Stomach. And along with an increase in anxiety, you can also experience nausea, lightheadedness, shakiness and even get sweaty.

And if an ulcer is the reason for unexplained anxiety, the symptoms might get worse after eating since eating only irritates the sore and open wound in the digestive track.