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Seven Questions for a Gastroenterologist

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Seven Questions for a Gastroenterologist

Aug 31, 2023

On this episode of Seven Questions for a Specialist, we speak with Matt Steenblik, MD, who specializes in gastroenterology at University of Utah Health. What does a gastroenterologist treat? What questions does he get asked the most? What's one thing he wished everyone knew about their gut health?

Episode Transcript

Interviewer: All right. Today it's seven questions with a gastroenterologist. Dr. Matt Steenblik is a gastroenterologist at University of Utah Health.

#1: When a Patient Comes Into Your Office, What Do They Generally Want to Talk About?

Dr. Steenblik: There are all the reasons that people don't want to talk to a gastroenterologist are the reasons they ultimately come, right?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Dr. Steenblik: People talk to us when they have abdominal pain or discomfort. They talk to us when they have constipation or diarrhea, and they talk to us when they have reflux. Those are sort of the top three or four things that people come and see me for. It turns out that if you can't eat and you can't poop, you're pretty miserable and you like to see a doctor.

Interviewer: I think you've hit on something right there.

#2: What's the Best Thing I Can Do for My Digestive System?

Dr. Steenblik: Healthy eating and exercise, just like you've been told by all your docs.

Interviewer: Yeah, it seems to always come back to that, doesn't it?

#3: What's the Worst Thing I Can Do for My Digestive System?

Dr. Steenblik: Well, eating poorly and not exercising. So yeah, making bad food choices.

#4: What's the Most Common Question You Get?

Dr. Steenblik: Why does this hurt here? And then sort of a finger pointing to a certain place on the body, anywhere. You know?

#5: Tell Me Something About the Digestive System that Would Surprise Me

Dr. Steenblik: We are more bacteria than we are human. Our microbiome or the collection of our bacteria makes us unique and numerous.

Interviewer: Yeah, and not just limited to the gut. On the skin too, which is...

Dr. Steenblik: Oh, everywhere, yeah.

Interviewer: Yeah, that's a good one.

#6: You're at a Party. Somebody Finds Out What You Do. What's the Next Thing that Generally Happens?

Dr. Steenblik: It's the same thing that happens at the dinner table every night, which is a lot of fart jokes.

Interviewer: Really, they think they have a free license...

Dr. Steenblik: Yeah.

Interviewer: ...because of who you are.

Dr. Steenblik: I mean, people all of a sudden... You know, I can be with like executives, CEOs, and all of a sudden it's appropriate to talk about bowel function at a dinner table. With no other person that would be appropriate, but with me it is.

#7: Why this Area of Medicine? Why Gastroenterology for You?

Dr. Steenblik: Well, that goes back to the question prior, which is that nothing is off limits anymore. You know, it's a great field to practice in. It's fun. And like I said, people like to see you if they can't eat and they can't poop and they don't feel well.