It was identified in 1982 by Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, who found that it was present in patients with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers, conditions that were not previously believed to have a microbial cause.

Although there was some skepticism initially, within several years numerous research groups verified the association of H. pylori with gastritis and, to a lesser extent, ulcers. To demonstrate H. pylori caused gastritis and was not merely a bystander, Marshall drank a beaker of H. pylori culture. He became ill with nausea and vomiting several days later. An endoscopy ten days after inoculation revealed signs of gastritis and the presence of H. pylori. These results suggested H. pylori was the causative agent of gastritis. Marshall and Warren went on to demonstrate that antibiotics are effective in the treatment of many cases of gastritis.