There are a number of factors which could be at play here so there isn’t one-size-fits-all answer I’m afraid , however things to consider are:
1. Hormone fluctuations in peri-menopause/menopause can interfere with the hormones which control appetite (Ghrelin and Leptin) which can result in women feeling hungry quite soon after eating.
2. Adrenal function and cortisol - as we all live increasingly busy lives, stress, excessive exercise, poor sleep can all affect our cortisol levels. Cortisol is our stress hormone. Increased cortisol encourages the body to gain weight (especially around our middle). When our adrenals glands (located on our kidneys) are under constant strain to produce cortisol this can affect our appetite driving us to eat more regularly and can encourage the wrong food choices resulting in weight gain.
3. Disruption of gut bacteria - This can be affected by hormone fluctuation during peri-menopause and impacted by poor dietary choices. Changes in our gut bacteria can also affect appetite. It is crucial to eat a diet high in fibre, fruit, vegetables and healthy fats during the peri/menopause.
There are other factors which can also affect weight gain and appetite during this time of change but we would always recommend you seek the help a professional for advice as some basic dietary and lifestyle changes can help alleviate this issue.
Oestrogen itself is thought to help supress appetite – a simple reason why so many women report increased hunger/cravings during peri/menopause, when levels start to decline.
Hope this helps
Jill and Kathryn, Improved Nutrition