Rod Stewart was ''addicted to steroids'' even though they made his penis shrink.

The 'I Don't Want to Talk About It' hitmaker has admitted he became reliant on the drug to help soothe his vocal cords ahead of gigs, but the habit had a number of nasty side-effects, including reducing the size of his manhood.

In an interview with Mojo magazine, the renowned womaniser said: ''I let myself down on tours in the late 80s when I was addicted to steroids. In those days we didn't have in-ear monitors and the band kept getting louder and drunker, and I kept blowing my voice out. The steroids will take down the swelling in any membrane - including your knob - and it's what you do when you're in a bit of a pinch and need to do a show and you can't sing.''

Despite the benefit to his voice, the 68-year-old rocker - who is married to model Penny Lancaster - says the drugs made him ''bloated'' and had more serious repercussions when he suffered from internal bleeding.

He explained: ''Steroids make you fat and bloated, you can't sleep and you get really irritable. It's one of the most horrible drugs in the world. One night, on stage in Sheffield, I thought I was in the kitchen with my mum because the steroids had eaten a hole in my stomach. I was bleeding internally and hallucinating. What the audience must have thought!''

Rod - who has overcome thyroid cancer - still uses steroids around ''once a year'' to help him through a particularly challenging performance, however, he feels the after-effects for days.

He added: ''I will still use them around once a year if I'm really struggling. It gets you through the show, but you pay for it. You can't sing for a week.''