Back in my teenage/early college days, my periods were awful (super irregular, really bad cramps, heavier than was manageable). I spent 6 years on HBC to control them. Started getting migraines with one kind (can't remember the name) and was prescribed a higher estrogen pill to "fix" this and would up with a severe case of clinical depression (didn't know this was a potential side effect, took years to catch).
Had a new doc by this time. Her input was I was on a super high estrogen pill which could be the root of my issues, so let's try a new prescription. She gave me an even higher estrogen pill, which made things worse, and then argued with me when I asked for a lower dose of estrogen so I went off the pill altogether. Depression is still there (it was a little pre-pills) but is much better.
Two years post pill and I'm much more regular (cycle length of 25-37 days instead of my old 21-60+ range), but cramps of death have returned and I'm losing between 150-200ml per cycle (yay being able to track with the cup!). I am slightly anemic when my period isn't happening, and when it does come around it takes days of sluggishness and exhaustion and general feeling-like-crud before I start to bounce back. It's starting to impact my ability to function well a few days every month. I know my doctor will have the best guidance for me, but as I had to advocate for myself last time I'd just like to have some ideas before going in.
So my questions:
-I'm hesitant to go back to HBC. What non-hormonal options might I have to control this, if any? Contraception isn't a concern for the moment and I already know kids are not in my future at all.
-I've heard hormone-based IUDs can help things chill out. Can these impact mood/depression?
-What can I do or eat during/after my cycle to help me bounce back sooner/not get so out of it?
TIA for any ideas and input!