Birth Control

Dear friends,

I've been working on this research for quite a while and have come up with some understanding which i want to share with you all hoping it is beneficial for you especially those of you who are planning their family life. The following is just one of the many birth control methods (condom, contraceptive pills, hormonal methods ...) which my research proves to be the most non-invasive, simple, and no-cost method for birth control. Yet, the effectiveness greatly depends on each individual practice. If you strictly follow the rules, it's definitely effective.

Rhythm Method

This method is also known as fertility awareness, periodic abstinence or the calendar method. It is a way of avoiding pregnancy by simply not having intercourse during the days when you ovulate. If you wish to use this method of birth control, you will need to track your menstrual cycle to understand your body’s pattern and know precisely the days when you are most fertile. Then, by avoiding intercourse on those days or using other birth control options, such as condoms, it can prevent pregnancy.

How Does it Work?

This method of natural birth control is based on an individual’s menstrual cycle. Typically, sperm can survive inside the female reproductive system for around 5 to 7 days, but an egg can only live for 24 hours. Therefore, it is possible that your egg may get fertilized even 2 or 3 days after intercourse when ovulation occurs and sperm is already present in the body. However, 24 hours after you have ovulated, it is fairly safe to say that pregnancy will not occur until your next menstrual cycle. But how can you know just when you are most fertile or ovulate?

There are a few hints that can help you know when you ovulate:

- Counting from the 1st day of your menstrual period, the ovulation day is the 14th day
- When you ovulate, you get great amount of vaginal discharge that looks and feels like raw egg whites (clear and slippery)
- You may also feel menstrual like cramping and have tender breasts
- Your basal body temperature rises (mostly in the morning, you feel that you're having a higher body temperature)

Who Can Use It?

Those who have irregular cycles cannot really benefit from the Calendar Rhythm Method. Because this method requires the use of periodic abstinence, it is recommended more often for people in long-term relationships. Furthermore, the rhythm method offers no protection against STDs, like HIV and chlamydia. This is another reason why it is more often recommended for couples in long-term, monogamous relationships where both partners have tested free of STDs.


There are many factors that make rhythm method a not very reliable way of birth control. Apart from the usual mistakes that anyone can make, like tracking your cycle incorrectly and having intercourse during fertile days or maybe unwillingness of a partner. Another reason for the increased failure rate is that you use past cycles to predict future cycles. In most cases, past patterns are sufficient in providing you with a guideline for future cycles. However, any changes to your lifestyle, such as taking medication, dealing with stress, illness, starting menopause or breastfeeding, and chances are that your cycle may change.


As a natural birth control method, using the rhythm method to track your fertile days is relatively simple compared to using a contraceptive patch or receiving hormone injections. Other advantages are:

- Almost anyone can practice it
- Does not require any apparatus
- Does not interfere with foreplay or intercourse
- Has no effect on long
-term fertility


One of the biggest disadvantages of the rhythm method is that it does not protect against STDs. Other disadvantages include:

-Takes a lot of time to track the monthly cycle
-You cannot start using this method instantly and will need to note your cycles for at least 6 months first
-Partner may not be willing to cooperate

For related article in Khmer, visit

Can we choose our baby's sex?

In this era of advanced technology, there are various methods which we can use to determine our baby sex beforehand. Most high-tech methods are very expensive or/and invasive. Being a citizen and a Medical Doctor in a developing country like Cambodia, and as a result of some research and discussion with my professors, i personally suggest The Shettles method ( by Dr. Shettles ).


Basically, men produce two types of sperms, the X (female) and Y (male). According to Dr. Shettles' studies the y-sperms are smaller, weaker, but faster than their siblings x-sperms, which are bigger, stronger, but slower.

Based on this fact, there are several things you can do to "favor" the conception of boys or girls:

(1) The most important aspect of all is timing of intercourse during the monthly cycle. The closer to ovulation you have sex, the better the chances to have a boy, because the y-sperms are faster and tend to get to the egg first. If you have sex 3 days or more before ovulation, the better your chances to conceive a girl, because the weaker y-sperms tend to die sooner and the x-sperms will be available in greater quantity whenever the egg is released. On the other hand, having sex from 2 days before ovulation, through a few days after ovulation, is better for conceiving a boy. Around the 2-day point -- 48 hours before ovulation -- seems to be the 50/50 mark.

(2) The pH of the women's tract is also very important. A more acidic environment favors girls, since it will kill the weaker y-sperms first, leaving a greater quantity of x-sperms available to fertilize the egg. On the other hand, a more alkaline environment favors boys. Shettles recommends a douche of water and vinegar (acid) immediately before intercourse to favor a girl; a douche of water and baking soda (alkaline) will help for a boy.(Don't try this without reading Shettles! You have to dilute the douches properly, according to his formula, or they won't help and might hurt you.)Note: Some women are naturally very acidic and have a hard time conceiving boys.

(3) Position of intercourse and depth of penetration are important, partly because of pH. The closer to the entrance to the vagina, the more acidic the women's tract is. Also, deep penetration places the sperm closer to the egg, and gives those aggressive boy sperms a head start :-). So, a shallow penetration will favor girls and a deeper will favor boys. Shettles recommends missionary-position for a girl, and rear-entry (dog-style) for a boy.

(4) Women's orgasms can also be important. It also has to do with pH. When a woman has an orgasm, the body releases some kind of substance that makes the environment more alkaline, favoring boys. He recommends no orgasms when trying for girls!

(5) The sperm count is another factor. Obviously, a low sperm count to begin with doesn't favor either sex. But a high sperm count favors boys. Shettles recommends three things:

(a) When trying for a boy, don't have sex for 3- 4 days before you reach the target date a day or two before ovulation! For girls, have sex everyday from day=1 or day=5 ("cleaner" :-)), and stop 3 days before ovulation.

(b) Shettles recommends that for boys, the man wear loose underwear only -- that is, men who usually wear briefs or other tight underwear should switch to boxers. The idea is the same as wearing boxers to increase overall fertility -- the testicles need cooler temperatures for sperms to survive, and the Y-sperms, since they are weaker, will be helped more than the X-sperms by this method. However, Shettles does NOT recommend the opposite, that men wear briefs for a girl -- this will just decrease overall fertility.

(c) Also, for a girl, the man is supposed to take a hot bath immediately before intercourse. "Room temperature" is fine for a boy. The idea is the same as the briefs versus boxers -- give the X- sperms an advantage.

(6) Finally, in trying for a boy, Shettles recommends a nice cup of caffeinated coffee for the man, right before sex -- he isn't clear on how or why this works, but apparently it gives the Y-sperms a jolt!

Summary of the method

For baby girl:

- Have sex 3 days or more before ovulation
- Position of intercourse: Missionary
- No women’s orgasm
- Related to sperm count, have sex everyday and stop 3 days before ovulation
- Right before sex, the woman should bathe in a solution mixed by vinegar and water and the man should bathe in hot water to kill the Y sperm and favour X sperm

For baby boy:

- Have sex close to ovulation (less than 2 days)
- Position of intercourse: rear entry or Dog-style
- Women’s orgasm
- Related to sperm count, when trying for a boy, don't have sex for 3- 4 days before you reach the target date (a day or two before ovulation)
- Right before sex, the woman should bathe in a solution mixed by water and baking soda and the man should bathe in cool water to favour Y sperm

My own comments:

Until now, there has not yet been any scientific proof and recognition of the most effective methods in determining baby's sex before conception. However, these SHETTLES methods seem to be the most reasonably accepted by medical professionals. And, most importantly, these methods do not cause any harm of waste of money, so why not give them a try?

How to become and stay healthy

"To become and stay healthy can not be achieved without your willingness or/and commitment to do so."

First, I'm going to define 'health or healthy status'. Based on WHO, health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of illness. However, in this article, i'm going to define health in a fairly different way, and the reason i'm doing this is that I have realized that health, based on WHO's definition, does not really exist even in the most developed nations where Universal Health Plan (HPL) is executed. If physical, mental, and social wellbeing are the criteria for being healthy, do you think Europeans who live in a secured society and have 24-hour-a-day access to health services are defined healthy? The answer is NO. Why? Because they lack the second criterion-mental wellbeing. Most of them suffer from academic, professional, and relationship stress and other mental problems. Now, let's think about those living in non-secured developing countries most of whom do not have access to health services. So, they all are not healthy? I hope you should be able to get my point by now.

I have read several debate articles on 'Does health exist?' and i agree with the authors that people should be defined healthy if they meet the following 3 simple criteria:

1. Nutrition

Our body needs proper food and water to survive and grow. In general, people seem to be able to tell what foods their bodies need to function properly and to be healthy.

2. Action

Being active is important in keeping our body healthy because human body was made to be physically active. The heart needs to pump fast once in a while to keep its muscle tone. Your lungs need exercise to function the way they were made to function. Using the body is important to maintaining your health. In this context, handicapped people can also be considered healthy if they can use any parts of their body in any way.

3. Adaptable environment

Don't be confused! I'm not talking about social wellbeing, but adaptable environment in which you are living. Even you are in a non-secured or polluted society, if you can adapt to it, you will find your way to becoming healthy. Well, let me break away from health topic to talking about pollution. Do you agree with me that pollution occurs everywhere, regardless of its level? If you do, then you might think that there are no healthy people, according to WHO. That's the point i'm trying to make! Even pollution exists everywhere, people still can become and stay healthy if they can adapt to the polluted environment, by any means of protection, for example.

Now that you know the 3 simple criteria of becoming healthy, you should also be aware of the controllable threats to your health in order to remain healthy for your possible and appropriate time. Of course, you can't be healthy and live forever. It's again nature! And, i'm talking about controllable threats here because there are also non-controllable threats to your health. Nature is one nice example such non-controllable threats to your health, following by birth/genetic defects or malformation being the second most common threat you yourself can't control or change. Simply put, as time passes by, you get old, weak, and ill by natural (or physiological) regulations.

The below controllable threats, on the other hand, can be prevented, thus helping you remain healthy.

1. Inappropriate alimentation or/and eating habits

Eat enough but not too much or too frequent. Being overweight can harm your health.

2. Improper exercise

Not using your various parts and organs can cause them to atrophy or degenerate. Yet, sometimes using a part too much can cause injury or excessive wear.

3. Sickness

Germs, bacteria, molds, and viruses may attack parts of our bodies, trying to infiltrate and use the body as a home or source of food. Not only can they destroy our cells, but they often may release poisons that can harm our whole being. Cleanliness is one defense against disease.

Oops! I don't mean you need to be sterile to remain healthy. Poor people can also avoid sickness due to the invasion of these little organisms (i.e. bacteria, viruses) simply by taking good care of themselves especially during sleeping, ingestion and urination/defecation. Being too clean or sterile, on the contrary, is sometimes believed to NOT activate the natural defense in your body which is needed to maintain your health.

4. Poison

You can be poisoned by ingesting the wrong material. Sometimes poisons are subtle parts of the environment, such as smoke or drugs. Being aware of potential poisons and taking measures to avoid or prevent them also helps you stay healthy.

Now that you have read about the 3 simple criteria to being healthy and their controllable threats, ask yourself whether you are willing and committed to becoming and remaining healthy or not? If you just want to be healthy and are not committed enough, what i have spent days doing research on and writing about is probably useless for you, as mentioned in my very first sentence of this article.

It's not easy but so simple!