Sunday, November 28, 2021

It’s a Gut Feeling

To Your Health

Submitted Photo | Dr. Muneer.


Many of us follow the phrase “trust your gut” or are said to “have the guts” to pull off a specific challenging task, but when it comes to gut feelings, I tend to think about medicine rather than maxims. It comes with the territory. 

Consider this: If your gut feelings start to go south, you need medical help. And almost 40% of older adults have one or more digestive symptoms a year. 

As the Southwest Florida population of adults over 50 grows, we have invested significantly in the technology and workforce required to address the growing demand for gut health. 

For example, our digestive system moves food through our bodies via a series of muscle contractions. As we age, this process can slow down with more water from the food being absorbed into the body. This can lead to constipation. Staying hydrated is very important to help prevent constipation. 

Plus, as we age, new medical issues can arise. These include diverticular disease or colorectal cancer. Long-standing conditions can also worsen, such as dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, and GERD. 

I was speaking to a long-time patient recently—a self-described “gastrointestinal disaster”—who loudly and proudly announced that over 10 years he had seen every Physicians Regional gastroenterologist (Drs. Cohen, Grace, and Valdez) and colorectal surgeon (Drs. Cera and Vernava). “Outstanding—each and every one of them.” 

As much as I enjoyed his passionate endorsement, I couldn’t resist telling him that we’d added another superb physician to the list. 

Badar Muneer, M.D., boardcertified in gastroenterology and internal medicine, specializes in advanced gastroenterology, liver diseases and colon cancer screenings, as well as treatment of the esophagus, stomach, and pancreaticobiliary diseases. 

Dr. Muneer attended medical school at Nishtar Medical College in Multan, Pakistan, and completed his residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago. He also completed three separate fellowships: Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas (Hepatology), Virginia Tech in Roanoke, VA (Interventional Gastroenterology), and Case Western Reserve University Medical Center in Cleveland (Gastroenterology). 

He is also one of the few physicians in Collier County to specialize in diseases of the liver. His decision to focus extra attention on hepatology was based on the high rate of liver disease in his native Pakistan. 

The need to help those with liver disease, quite literally, hit home. And now, patients in Southwest Florida get to benefit from an idea generated on the other side of the globe. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, liver disease accounts for approximately two million deaths per year worldwide—one million due to complications of cirrhosis and one million due to viral hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma. 

Cirrhosis is currently the 11th most common cause of death globally and liver cancer is the 16th leading cause of death; combined, they account for 3.5% of all deaths worldwide. 

Many may not know that each time your liver is injured—whether by disease, excessive alcohol consumption or another cause—it tries to repair itself. On the most basic level, Dr. Muneer is here to help your liver do its job. 

“I like to help people. It gives me a lot of satisfaction when I can diagnose their medical problems, treat them properly, and make them feel better,” he says. “According to my faith, if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” 

Dr. Muneer specifically enjoys performing procedures and interventions. “Gastroenterology is a dynamic field. Plus, Physicians Regional has invested in the latest technology. Our medical expertise, combined with state-of-the-art technology, provides us the ability to do many minimally invasive procedures—with excellent outcomes.” 

He is also in lockstep with Physicians Regionals’ patient-and family-centric culture. “I respect my patients and their families. I do understand that patients are often sick and suffering. Plus, the family is concerned about their loved ones,” he said. “It’s important to give my patients enough time to describe their problems and concerns. Then, I try to address their issues and give them my best recommendations. I am always honest and want to provide them a clear and realistic picture.” 

He pauses and adds, “It’s important that I also make my patients feel comfortable. Though there are times when we are quite busy, the patient should never feel like that’s the case. They should never feel rushed. And when I’m talking to a patient, I look them in the eye and not, for example, at a computer. They must know they are being heard.” 

To schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment with Dr. Muneer, please call 239-348-4221 or visit 



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