In South Africa, and indeed many other parts of Africa, the topic of girls’ and women’s menstruation is not always an easy one to bring up for a number of reasons. Periods have been used as the sources of shame and stigma against women and girls in many different ways. From cultural settings, where periods can be seen as a sign of promiscuity or uncleanliness; to modern school playgrounds where boys and girls’ dialogue around periods leaves a lot to be desired. We even see it in the workplace, where male colleagues will use phrases such as “that time of the month” in order to belittle their female counterparts. The societal challenges are endless.
Of course, that’s not to ignore the physical challenges of menstruation. Periods cramps can be extremely painful, with the anguish often making day-to-day activities at school and work feel unbearable. Although there exists a range of medications and products that help alleviate some of the pain, many women have been calling out for a more effective period cramp relief product. Judging by the buzz across the South African online landscape this week, we might have finally found one.
Nutritional Supplement providers Best 4, launched a brand new product this week: their Period Cramps Relief medication which looks to be the solution that every woman has been waiting for. The organic offering is a neuromuscular anti-cramping agent that provides effective menstrual pain relief for women of all ages.
The timing of the product’s release couldn’t be better; as it fell right in the heart of this year’s Women’s Month in South Africa. The Best 4™ team clearly recognised that their product release was also an opportunity to address many of the myths and attitudes around periods and opened up the dialogue to correcting these when they announced their new product at a virtual launch event on Thursday.
Mihlali Ndamase and Thembisa Mdoda were among the guests on the day and the pair felt strongly about using the new product to challenge period-stigma across South Africa.
To learn more about the product, we spoke to Best 4™‘s brand rep, Vanessa Gounden who is the CEO of the HolGoun Group, co-founder of HolGoun Healthcare, Creative Director and Fashion Designer.
Moziak Magazine: Welcome to Moziak Magazine! Please tell us about Best 4™ Period Cramps Relief, the exciting new product for combating period pains.
Vanessa Gounden: Best 4™ Period Cramps Relief is a recent addition to the premium range of Best 4™ Healthcare supplements. This revolutionary product is a first to market, neuromuscular anti-cramping supplement for period pains due to primary dysmenorrhea (recurrent menstrual cramps that are not due to other diseases). Best 4™ Period Cramps Relief is an innovative 100% natural supplement that both treats and prevents period cramps.
MM: We don’t need to ask why you decided to invest in such a product – but what made you look at the current market and think “nothing is working effectively enough; we need something revolutionary”?
VG: My better half Dr. Sivi Gounden, the Chairman and co-founder of the HolGoun Group, pioneered the development of the world’s first commercially available neuromuscular sports supplement called CRAMPNOT, for exercise-associated muscle cramps. He is passionate about endurance sport and has competed in various endurance events for the past 34 years, including, cycling and open water swimming. In our post-marketing surveillance feedback we learned that sportswomen using CRAMPNOT also benefited from its pain relief when experiencing period cramps. These top athletes prompted us to develop a neuromuscular anti-cramping supplement specifically for women that are plagued with period cramps. Hence the launch of the revolutionary Best 4™ Period Cramps Relief.
MM: Interestingly, Best 4™ contains 100% natural ingredients including cayenne pepper and cinnamon. In simple terms, how does this composition help fight period pains?
VG: Both cayenne pepper and cinnamon are key simulators of crucial receptors that line the mouth, oesophagus (gullet) & stomach. When these receptors are stimulated they work with the spine to normalise how nerves communicate with muscles which in turn helps to both prevent and treat period cramps.
MM: What kind of feedback have you gotten from your customers so far?
VG: “Best 4™ Period Cramps Relief is effective and works every time for me.”
“I enjoy that it is an organic 100% natural supplement.”
“It is a welcome alternative to traditional pain relief medication as I don’t need to worry about any side effects or drug interactions.”
“The innovative science behind its mode of action contributes to the strong doctor prescribing support I see in my pharmacy.”
MM: What are your plans to make Best 4™ accessible to all women and girls across the country?
VG: The new chocolate flavoured Best 4™ Period Cramps Relief is available on e-Pharma.co.za, Takealot & leading private pharmacies and coming soon to all major retailers nationwide such as Dis-chem & Clicks.
MM: How can we as a society put an end to the shame and stigma attached to menstruation?
VG: It is pertinent to follow a strategic approach for combating the myths and social taboos associated with menstruation in order to improve the reproductive health of adolescent girls and women. The first and foremost strategy in this regard is raising the awareness among the adolescent girls related to menstrual health and hygiene. Young girls often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation because their mothers and other women shy away from discussing the issues with them. Adult women may themselves not be aware of the biological facts or good hygienic practices, instead passing on cultural taboos and restrictions to be observed. Community based health education campaigns could prove worthwhile in achieving this task. There is also need to spread awareness among the school teachers regarding menstruation. Empowerment of women through education and increasing their role in decision-making can also aid in this regard. Women and girls are often excluded from decision-making due to their lower literacy levels per se. Increasing the education status of women plays an important role in improving the health status of the community at large and overcoming the cultural taboos, in particular.
MM: What message would you like to send this Women’s Month from the Best 4™ team?
VG: At the end of the day, women, both young and old, need to walk away from the taboo of periods as an unclean, shameful and embarrassing act. Quite the contrary, shedding blood from your uterus each month is a natural bodily function that we need to embrace and love because it means that we are healthy. So, don’t shy away from going out during your period, having sex or just enjoying yourself during your time of month. Remember to take pride in and love your womanhood, you deserve it!