Hi, this is my first post I've read the forums in the past, but just recently joined the site.
A little background: I wet the bed several times a week during high school, but this mostly stopped when I started college, although it sometimes still occurs when I drink beer/alcohol at night. I've always had to urinate frequently (every hour or two), and started experiencing slight stress incontinence a few years ago, about a year after I stopped wetting the bed. It only happened in small amounts when sneezing or stretching, until early last year when I began having to manage it with male guards… basically maxi-pads.
I'm not sure if it's because I started to feel more secure knowing that I was padded, but in the past few months it's become increasingly frequent, to the point where I often leak when climbing stairs, bending over, standing up, sitting down… etc. It's still in small enough amounts to manage with pads, although I am having to change them more frequently. While I do have a small diaper fetish (I sometimes look forward to putting on a diaper when I drink a lot, and sometimes wear around my apartment when I'm relaxing by myself) I have no real desire to wear diapers any more often than I currently do.
So, my question: Is it possible that my stress incontinence is becoming more frequent because I started using pads? I do feel that, before, I would actively focus during the day on holding my bladder when doing activities that might cause me to leak. I tried going without pads this past week to see if any control would come back and ended up having an accident a few hours into the first day that required changing clothes -- I definitely need some form of protection. My follow up question: There are situations (going out with friends, hiking, road trips) where changing pads every hour becomes impractical. I've considered pull-ups for these situations, but should I be concerned that I'll begin relying on them too much? I still have to make frequent trips to the restroom, even with the pads I'm currently using, so I don't want to slowly lose more control to the point of needing pull-ups in another year or two. I've also been apprehensive about wearing diapers to relax ever since I started needing pads to manage my stress incontinence… should I be doing everything I can to keep from worsening my incontinence, or should I try using pull-ups occasionally for the sake of convenience? I've already stopped drinking soda and coffee (which I miss) and it feels like I'm constantly concentrating on holding my bladder during the day, to the point where it's almost a distraction.
TLDR: I think pull-ups make more sense than what I'm currently doing, but I'm nervous about acknowledging that I might need them, and even more nervous about the future possibility of actually needing them.
Any thoughts / recommendations are very much appreciated, and thanks for reading my long post!